The other day in my blog entitled “A little bit of this…a little bit of that” I related that Republican Senator Sylvia Allen of Snowflake, Arizona had introduced a bill whose sole intent is to gut the Arizona Open Meeting Law.

Arizona’s Open Meeting Law is designed to prevent elected officials, such as members of the Glendale city council from meeting privately and secretly to discuss actions that they will be voting upon. Allen’s bill would allow such private and secret meetings to occur without penalty.

We should all be wondering if there is any connection between the current Attorney General’s investigation of 4 Glendale city councilmembers: current councilmembers Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira and former councilmembers Yvonne Knaack and Manny Martinez.

The allegations surrounding these four councilmembers are centered on their actions prior to the July 3, 2013 vote of approval, by these very same four councilmembers, of the IceArizona management agreement for the city’s arena.

It was a time when then Acting City Manager Dick Bowers had sent a Memo to all councilmembers raising concerns about the deal. Allegedly in an effort to shore up a pro-IceArizona majority vote, these councilmembers met privately with IceArizona’s attorney Nick Wood right after a council executive session. Allegedly Sherwood shared executive session information with Wood and then emailed a summary of the deal’s status to Councilmember Martinez (who did not attend the private meeting) with an admonition to destroy his email. Let’s not forget now Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni’s role in all of this. There is at least one email floating around in which she shares positive talking points of the IceArizona deal to the four supportive councilmembers exclusively. Those councilmembers who she assumed were not in support of the deal did not receive her email.

It’s awfully coincidental that while these four Glendale councilmembers remain under investigation by the Attorney General’s office, at least 4 of SB 1435’s sponsors are Glendale representatives: Senators Judy Burges, Don Shooter, Kimberly Yee and David Livingston. Senator Debbie Lesko of Peoria is also a sponsor of the bill.

You don’t suppose Sherwood had a conversation about his current difficulties with any of these sponsors? Nah…it’s just coincidental.  Below is a full list of SB 1435’s sponsors:

Email is an easy action nowadays. Simply copy and paste the email addresses from above. Please let them know that allowing elected officials to meet privately and secretly on legislation that will come before them will do nothing to further good government and it kills what little transparency we have. Tell them the days of secret, backroom deals are over. Kill the bill.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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