Councilmember Gary Sherwood took office representing the Sahuaro district in Glendale in January of 2013. He has served two years of his four year term. In his first six months in office he:

  • He flip flopped on his anti-casino campaign pledge claiming he had learned “new information” from Councilmember Chavira (which neither have ever publicly disclosed) and was the deciding vote on a 4-3 council vote supporting it.
  • He and Councilmember Chavira became very close. Coincidentally Chavira flip flopped on his election pledge of opposing exorbitant arena management deals and was the deciding vote on a 4-3 council vote approving the IceArizona deal.
  • He publicly acknowledged that he independently and privately interviewed Brenda Fischer and then publicly advocated for her hire. To this day he remains squarely in her camp and his latest district E Newsletter praises her tenure.
  • At a meeting I attended several years ago at a local restaurant in north Glendale Sherwood was present. After the meeting some of us were standing out in the parking lot. Sherwood was there and at a one point he bragged about having a “cop card.” I never forgot that. To this day, I don’t know exactly what that is but I assume it’s to be used when pulled over for a moving violation.

The next year and a half haven’t been pretty either:

  • He was the leader of the Becker billboard proposal and voted for it. His recent support for Councilmember Tolmachoff’s request for a Scenic Corridor in north Glendale is no more than a smoke screen that will be used to bring back the Becker billboard proposal. Wait for it…the Becker billboard issue will arise again.
  • He allegedly violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. The allegations are still under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.
  • He purportedly attended citizen Planning and Zoning meetings and was reputed to have made hand signals to some of the commissioners as well as visibly associating himself in front of the P&Z commissioners with various applicants that he supported.
  • He was seen having frequent lunch meetings with City Manager Fischer and assorted senior staff at an out-of-the-way Asian restaurant in Peoria.
  • He apparently has a close working relationship with Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni as evidenced by Frisoni’s emails on the arena management deal that were sent exclusively to Sherwood and the other 3 Councilmembers supporting the deal.
  • He seems to support the sale of the Foothills Library as evidenced by his lack of notification to his constituency (those most affected by its closing and relocation). In his latest district E Newsletter he announced the library meetings dates after the fact. He could have issued a special E Newsletter announcing the dates prior to their being held…but he didn’t.
  • Purportedly he was heard to remark on more than one occasion that he did more than the mayor.
  • He not only supports light rail in Glendale but continues to advocate for its placement on Glendale Avenue in clear contradiction of the 2001 voter approved transportation plan.

Councilmember Sherwood seemed to fancy himself as the ‘real’ mayor of Glendale. His frequent lunches with Fischer,, apparently were for the purpose of trading information and working together on agenda items that would come before the full council. From all appearances he had created a virtual shadow government. He used Council Items of Special Interest, not for initiatives for the good of his constituency but to denigrate the mayor. He publicly disparaged his constituents’ concerns. His constituents believe that instead of representing their interests he has consistently represented his own.

Events are still in play. Apparently the Attorney General’s Office investigation into alleged Open Meeting Law violations is being actively pursued. The major allegation centers around Sherwood’s secret and private coordination of three other councilmember votes on the IceArizona deal. Of course, Sherwood will deny any wrong doing but the infamous email sent to former Councilmember Manny Martinez with the tag line of “please destroy this email after reading” is pretty damning. It purports to say that he, former Councilmember Yvonne Knaack and Councilmember Chavira are all on board after a private meeting with IceArizona’s attorney Nick Wood during which executive session information was shared.

The first attempt to recall Sherwood as councilmember representing the Sahuaro district failed due to technical errors committed by an inexperienced group of citizens. It was a learning experience for the Sherwood recall committee. One of those learned lessons is that the city will do whatever it can to protect sitting elected officials and that one must be very, very precise in dealing with the city. Expect the Sherwood recall committee to soon, very soon, annouce a new petition signature drive. This time expect success.

Sherwood, in an attempt to aggrandize power, has done much to destroy his viability and credibility as an elected official. Should the Attorney General’s Office investigation lead to a finding of wrong doing and/or the second recall attempt be successful Sherwood could end up being removed from office or at the very least, his effectiveness to accomplish anything will have been severely minimalized. It’s politics at its very worst. It would be sad if it weren’t for the fact that his actions have had real and lasting repercussions for every resident of Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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