It has been 17 years and 173 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
Another blog milestone: 250,000 reads of my blog. My thanks to everyone who has taken the time to follow me. It is appreciated.On June 9, 2015, the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran a story by Stephen Deere announcing that Glendale’s former City Manager Ed Beasley has been hired as Interim City Manager for 6 months in Ferguson, Missouri. The first reaction from many in Glendale has been absolute speechlessness followed by a stunned “Wow!” Here is the link: http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ferguson-about-to-hire-an-interim-city-manager-accused-of/article_399ec201-78c8-5acc-883b-d5ad6b21f718.html?mobile_touch=true .
I didn’t know much about Ferguson demographically although it is nationally known as the recent birthplace of Afro-American civil unrest characterized by the false chant of “Hands up…don’t shoot.” According to the census bureau (here is the link: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2923986.html) the comparisons of Ferguson and Glendale are stark:
- Ferguson has a population of 21,111; Glendale has a population of 230,000.
- Ferguson’s racial makeup is 67% black and 29% white; Glendale is 67% white and 6% black.
- The median value of a home in Ferguson is $93,700; Glendale is $144,300.
- Ferguson’s median household income is $38,685; Glendale’s is $47,474.
Ed Beasley had a long and storied 17 year career with the City of Glendale. He began his tenure in Glendale in 1998 as Assistant City Manager under Former City Manager Dr. Martin Vanacour. In 2002 Elaine Scruggs became the council appointed mayor after Mayor Quentin Tolby resigned. From the start of her tenure as mayor she seemed to butt heads with Vanacour and shortly thereafter he resigned and Beasley was appointed by the city council as the new Glendale City Manager. He served in that capacity for ten years until 2012. At the start of both their tenures in 2002, Scruggs supported Beasley during his DUI trouble. See link: Beasley DPS . But as time passed, Beasley’s and Scruggs’ relationship became rocky as each vied to become the ultimate power broker in Glendale. As their working relationship soured over the years she was never able to garner enough council support to have him removed.In 2012 he announced his retirement to city council and left. A year later information would become public that would tarnish his reputation. Beasley ran his administration with an “inner circle” of advisors from within Glendale’s ranks. He apparently was not shy about helping his friends, witness Glendale’s former HR Director Alma Carmicle’s job retention with her $140,000 salary despite her permanent move to Mississippi and former Director of Finance Art Lynch’s overly generous $930,000 three year compensation as a consultant. Rumors also flew about Beasley’s attempt to secure the purchase of the Coyotes for John Kaites and Jerry Reinsdorf after Jerry Moyes declared the Coyotes bankrupt in 2009. See this link: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/something-smells-in-glendale-did-the-city-steer-the-phoenix-coyotes-franchise-to-an-insider-6430691 . Then there was Beasley’s choice of Andrew Kirkland as chief of police. In less than 5 months after his having been hired he was under investigation and resigned. See this link: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2005/04/04/daily63.html .
Beasley seemed to surround himself with some seemingly ethically challenged employees. Those employees in upper management unafraid of pointing out that “the emperor had no clothes” soon recognized the futility of doing so and left city employ. It didn’t take them long to figure out the landscape as they became marginalized by Beasley and his friends.
Beasley was golden during Glendale’s run-up to become the sports mecca of the state. He was riding high as he was courted by some of the largest cities in the nation to become their city manager. Although he had left Glendale’s employ it wasn’t soon before a publicly released city audit revealed fiscal mismanagement of the Risk Management Trust Fund and the Workmen’s Compensation Trust Fund – all of which occurred on his watch. He was one of the most highly compensated city managers in the state earning a six figure salary as well as a generous benefit package. In May 2012, Beasley formed his own consulting business, Ed Beasley and Associates LLC. Less than a year later by February 2013, he became vice president of Colliers International Government Solutions division.
Ferguson’s hiring of Beasley as its Interim City Manager follows a steady stream of 3 other city managers in quick succession – in the span of 3 months. His contract amount is $84,500. That’s quite a come down and embarrassing. He had applied with other governmental jurisdictions but his services were declined. Ferguson has its own set of problems, a Department of Justice investigation whose findings demand compliance and a rising number of lawsuits. It’s make or break time for Beasley. Ferguson faces so many challenges. If Beasley demonstrates an inability to solve them his career as a city manager anywhere will die. Those are pretty high stakes for a man seeking rehabilitation. His seeming deal making, his reputed willingness to insure the financial futures of his friends and his questionable approval of irregular financial arrangements may or may not serve Ferguson’s interests well. Ferguson, heed these words, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.” (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1). Glendale thought it knew Ed Beasley well.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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