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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 216 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

You remember Brenda Fischer, don’t you? She was the City Manager of Glendale briefly…in the historical life of Glendale it was over in the blink of an eye…a mere 18 months. So what has she been doing since?

She went back to Henderson, Nevada, started a public relations firm, is now selling real estate and, oh by the way, applied for the City Manager’s position. Drama seems to follow her wherever she goes. Eric Hartley reporting for the Las Vegas Review-Journal on July 13, 2015 described that day’s city council meeting and the council’s appointment of Robert Murnane, the city’s public works and parks director and an employee with Henderson for nearly 20 years, as Henderson’s new City Manager.

Apparently that did not sit well with Robert Craddock, Fischer’s husband. According to Hartley, “Monday‘s meeting was disrupted briefly when a city firefighter tried to speak, telling the council his wife was discouraged from applying to be city manager because of his position with the city. Mayor Andy Hafen repeatedly told him to sit down because the time for public comment had passed.

Robert Craddock, a 26-year veteran of the Fire Department, left the council chambers after a police officer and security guard approached and motioned him to leave. He later apologized for his behavior.

Outside City Hall, Craddock said he got up to speak in frustration after Councilwoman Debra March mentioned hearing that an applicant had withdrawn because of a connection with a city employee. Craddock and his wife, Brenda Fischer, said that was not true.

Fischer said she applied and was excited to compete for the job. She got a call from the search firm in late May, she said, and was repeatedly encouraged to withdraw her application, in part because of her husband‘s job as a firefighter.

Fischer said she refused and never heard another word about her application.

She hinted she might run for City Council: ‘Don‘t be surprised if you see me on a ballot coming up’.”

Ms. Fischer seems to practice the art of dissention wherever she goes. She clashed repeatedly with newly elected Glendale councilmembers who had forged a new majority with new directions. She exhibited a public temper tantrum at Westgate’s Yard House restaurant with Robert Heidt, Glendale Chamber of Commerce president. She aligned herself with, among others, Julie Frisoni, and appointed her as an Assistant City Manager earning disapproval from many within and outside of city hall. She inappropriately requested all of the emails of a selected number of councilmembers whom she perceived as being unfriendly to her.

What is most disconcerting is Ms. Fischer’s apparent disregard for the concept of nepotism. Nepotism is two or more relatives working for the same entity and the perception of (or actual) favoritism that can result. Applying for the city manager’s position in a city where her husband works would most certainly create the perception of favoritism if she, as city manager, had made any decision that appeared to favor the fire department and therefore, her husband. Apparently that was not an issue for her.

On her consulting website, http://www.fischerconsultingllc.com/about-brenda.html Ms. Fischer says, “As a communication professional, one of Ms. Fischer’s top talents is her open and honest communication at all times. She ensured transparency with City Councilmembers, employees, residents and business owners, as a means to develop long lasting, trusting relationships.” Would that Ms. Fischer had practiced what she preaches on her website. It seemed apparent to all who interacted with her that transparency and trust were not traits high on her priority list.

Now she is threatening to run for public office. It’s as if she were a child threatening parents after not getting her way. Let’s hope her seemingly ethical challenges and temperament are noted and considered by the voters of Henderson.

What’s with Glendale’s former City Managers, Ed Beasley and Brenda Fischer? Will their attempts to rehabilitate and resurrect their reputations succeed? It’s time to close the book on Ms. Fischer. Glendale has been there and done that. Her stint is a mini-chapter in the city’s history best forgotten.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 208 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Please note: It seems that when one takes a short vacation all hell breaks loose. Glendale and IceArizona have resolved their differences for now. I will be posting a future blog on that event. In the meantime, I noted that the Glendale Star reported that it had attempted to contact me for a comment for their story. Thank goodness for digital phones. Having checked all calls for the past several weeks I can confirm that I received no phone call from the Glendale Star.

On July 22, 2015 the Glendale Police Department issued a press release confirming that Commander Andre Anderson has been hired as Ferguson, Missouri’s Interim Police Chief. In my blog entitled Beasley may have company in Ferguson dated June 25, 2015 I announced that it was possible that he would take the job as well as issues that both Beasley (hired as Interim City Manager) and Anderson could face.

Several nagging questions remain. I had heard that Anderson was reluctant to take the job because of the pay disparity between Glendale and Ferguson. Ferguson is a much smaller community, about 1/10 the size of Glendale. I had also heard that that Glendale might make up the disparity in pay between Anderson’s current salary and what he was offered in Ferguson. Would Glendale do such a thing? The rational answer is ‘no’ but we have certainly seen Glendale do other irrational acts. It doesn’t seem that it would be legal. So…the question for Glendale officials is this…is Glendale subsidizing Anderson’s pay while he works for Ferguson? It is a question that deserves a public answer from Glendale because Ferguson isn’t telling.

Anderson is on a six month loan from Glendale. He will be using up all of his vacation time and when that runs out, he will be on unpaid leave from Glendale. However, that explanation doesn’t answer the question of whether Glendale is subsidizing Anderson’s pay.

Another question…what is the city’s reasoning in allowing Anderson to serve as a paid administrator in Ferguson? Was it a favor to Glendale’s former City Manager Ed Beasley? It’s eerily similar to Beasley’s allowing Alma Carmicle, Glendale’s former HR Director, to telecommute from Mississippi.

The Glendale Police Department has, in a fashion, loaned personnel to various state task forces. They remain on the Glendale payroll and their salaries are not subsidized. Although it may have happened I do not recollect in Glendale’s history a Commander taking leave to serve as a Police Chief or in the administration of another municipality. More answers should be provided by the city than has been offered to date. Come on Glendale, come clean.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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.

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

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.

Alma Carmicle Courtesy Glendale Star

Alma Carmicle, Courtesy Glendale Star

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

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

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

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

The September 14, 2013 edition of the Glendale Republic reports that former Assistant City Manager Horatio Skeete and former Assistant Budget Director Don Bolton are appealing their terminations to the City’s Personnel Board (an advisory board of appointed citizens). Good for them. If there is any justice in this world they shouldn’t be left as the only fall guys (along with former Director of Finance Schurhammer and former Budget Director Goke). At the very least the City will have to back up and to prove its charges to the Personnel Board. There remains faint hope that the Attorney General’s office will bring charges against some of those who left before everything hit the fan. Based upon its track record in dismissing all recent Open Meeting Law violation complaints don’t hold your breath.

In City Manager Brenda Fischer’s termination letter to Skeete she says, “This action is based on your violation of city of Glendale policies and procedures. Specifically, the results of an external audit indicate that you were dishonest and misleading to the Glendale City Council on numerous occasions.” Whoo Hoo! If this is her reason for dismissal then there’s a long list of upper management personnel who fit the City Manager’s Bill of Particulars. As just one example, go all the way back to the “Indictment Period.” That was when the City Clerk told Councilmembers that they could backdate their signatures on their annual financial disclosure statements. If that wasn’t dishonest and misleading then there is no such thing. Councilmembers Eggleston, Goulette, Frate (each charged with 2 felonies; Goulette also received perjury charge) and Martinez (1 felony charge) apparently thought there was nothing wrong in doing so and followed her advice.  In 2004 they were indicted by the Maricopa County Grand Jury along with the City Clerk Pam Hanna (9 felony charges) and were charged with violating financial disclosure laws, tampering with and destroying public records, perjury and presenting false instruments for filing.  The charges were eventually dismissed on a technicality. They should be grateful not just for those “technicalities” but for the sharp attorneys who use them as a means of thwarting justice.

 For a period of nearly 10 years, under City Manager Beasley, misleading and dishonesty appeared to have been practiced as fine arts. It became ingrained in the organization’s culture witnessed by directives limiting what a staffer could and could not say to a councilmember. It reached its peak not just with the 2009 dollar transfers from funds but with the 2012 internecine warfare between former City Attorney Tindall and former Assistant City Manager Skeete vying for Council’s appointment as Interim City Manager. Tindall’s faction appeared to have been particularly adept. Isn’t it ironic that the very people who supported Skeete now find their heads chopped off during Acting Assistant Manager Julie Frisoni’s watch? Frisoni was clearly a supporter of Tindall and I can remember attending an event at the city’s convention center when Frisoni and Fire Chief Burdick lobbied me to support Tindall as the Interim City Manager.

It is also mystifying that City Manager Fischer has announced that the city is dropping an investigation into policy violations outside the scope of the external audit. On August 2nd she announced such an investigation. A month later…poof! It’s gone. Such an investigation might have led to other policy violations by active personnel. It might have led to wholesale dismissals which she might not have been able to afford as a new city manager. If that is what is needed, so be it. When there is an infection it must be removed entirely or it just resurfaces somewhere else. Maybe there’s an unwritten code in the fraternity of city managers that says do no harm to past or present brethren. Who knows?

While all this turmoil occurs there is an entire cadre of Glendale personnel quietly doing their jobs to provide the best service possible to Glendale’s residents. They are the people who keep our water running, our streets safe and take care of our garbage and loose trash. They don’t earn the exorbitant salaries that make the newspapers. They are a quiet army that keeps a city running. They should not be smeared with this executive mismanagement paint brush. Many of them were shocked to learn what had occurred. They are to be recognized and thanked for their fierce commitment to Glendale and its residents. So, thank you to all of the City of Glendale employees who faithfully and loyally serve us all.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Lawwho have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Over the weekend one of the many emails I received asked questions about Acting Assistant Julie Frisoni’s role in the Early Retirement Program (ERP). What did Frisoni, at that time the Director of Marketing and Communications, know and when did she know it? The writer of the email, based on the information in the audit, asks why the marketing director was conveniently left out of any headlines in the paper.

A review of the external audit report page 22 states, “On August 19, 2009, the Arizona Republic requested information from the City regarding the ERP…” On the same page of the report it further states, “On May 21, 2010 the Arizona Republic made a second public records request for information on the ERP…” In an email dated August 26, 2009 from Pam Kavanaugh (at that time Assistant City Manager) to Alma Carmicle (at that time Director of Human Resources) with reference to the public information requests made by the Arizona Republic she states, “If it is Budget related Sherry can handle – if it is H.R. related you can handle. Please keep Marketing in the loop on what is occurring. Has the other information been released? Have the employees been notified?”

From the audit report (Frisoni was interviewed one time) it appears that Frisoni may not have known the details of the ERP until 5 months after its inception but she certainly knew the facts by August of 2009. She states in the audit report that the information she supplied to the media was based upon her reliance on information supplied by others such as Schurhammer, Kavanaugh and Carmicle. If nothing else, it appears that she could have been a conduit of disinformation to the media. City staffers continue to believe that as Director of Marketing and Communications, she participated in the weekly meetings of upper management. As a result of her presumed attendance at those weekly meetings they believe that she knew of the ERP from its inception and the disastrous results that ensued long before it became public knowledge. As City spokesperson the assumption can be made that she would have needed to know about potential negative news about the city in order to spin it in the most positive light possible. At times that may have required the omission of information. Why hasn’t the media questioned the level of her involvement? Perhaps it’s more convenient for them to overlook one of their own in the business. 

Will we ever know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? It’s doubtful. It looks like 4 staffers will take the fall while the roster of the unscathed continues to grow: Beasley, Kavanaugh, Lynch, Carmicle, Loeb, and Frisoni. Many Glendale residents feel that her appointment as Acting Assistant City Manager is a slap in the face because Frisoni was part of the regime at the time of extremely poor (and perhaps illegal) decision making. Residents are asking why some are made accountable yet others continue to skate? There are no answers here but perhaps we will get answers from the Attorney General’s Office some day.

On another note, the city council approved the hiring of Michael Bailey as the new City Attorney.  According to the media he left Surprise, AZ when he and the city could not agree on his compensation. Mr. Bailey previously worked for Glendale and has history as a result.

Lastly, city council held an Esession on August 4, 2013 after its workshop and guess what was on its agenda…again? Yep, the arena management deal. It could be a standard place holder for an Esession or it could signal that there is some issue still unresolved. This is the second time it’s been on an Esession recently. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

RESULTS

My previous blogs reviewed the cast of characters, the items under investigation, the city hall atmosphere, and the how, why and what was done. Now its time to look at the results that the external audit produced. The following recommendations are relatively easy to implement and some have already occurred. Frankly, that’s the easy part. These recommendations will enforce and safeguard sound, fiscal policy positions for the city.

  • The City of Glendale should implement an anti-fraud program that would include the following:
  • Conduct a fraud risk assessment to identify areas that are vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse and/or employee misconduct;
  • The City should implement a code of conduct and provide training for that code;
  • Create an ethics hotline where callers could be allowed to provide information anonymously. The calls should be investigated (by whom? At the very least, a third party, neutral, should be used. Perhaps it’s time to create an Employee Ombudsman) thoroughly and immediately with reports provided at least quarterly to the City;
  • Implementation of the ethics/antifraud program should be communicated to all levels of employees.
  • Retention policy for emails/server information should be reconsidered. Sixty days for email backup is not adequate for litigation and investigative purposes. The minimum should be one year.
  • Decisions on significant programs, such as the ERP, should be supported by sound financial analysis and supporting documentation discussing both the short-term impact, and potential long-term impact of the program. It should also document City Management’s consideration and reasoning for recommending or implementing such a program.
  • Have Risk Management and Workers’ Compensation trust fund boards meet more frequently than once a year. (Already implemented before I left as Chairperson)
  • City should evaluate its current policies and guidance as to required authorization for transfers and revise if necessary. These policies should be assessed by City attorneys for consistence with applicable statutes, regulations and ordinances. (The City Attorney Office’s oversight has been nothing short of abysmal)
  • Revise charter/ordinances to require the notification and/or involvement of the City Attorney over all significant transactions.
  • To the extent that budget appropriations transfers are a practical necessity during the year, update or revise the policies to clearly set out what is and is not permitted, as well as what transfers and when those transfers must go for City Council approval.
  • To the extent that the City desires to pay certain administrative costs and salaries related to the appropriate trust fund purposes [as with other cities] -ordinance or amendment to governing documents should be considered and approved by City Council to authorize these expenditures. (Had been proposed to Council but not yet implemented)
  • Premium levels charged to City departments are subject to the recommendations and the discretion of the City Management. Premiums should be based on sound long-term evaluations rather than by short-term cash needs.
  • Significant changes in trust fund premiums (e.g. >20%) paid by City departments should be authorized to the City Council in advance.
  • City Auditor should report directly to the City Council rather than the City Manager. This recommendation has already been made implemented.
  • The City’s external auditor should be engaged to perform at least an annual audit of internal controls.

REPERCUSSIONS

This is not an easy topic nor are there any easy fixes. Today’s City Hall environment is positively toxic. Hopefully the new City Manager will make it her priority to reverse this situation. Obviously politics is not confined to politicians. It’s pervasive throughout this city organization and can be found in every other city. It’s not an aberration confined only to Glendale. When Beasley came on board as City Manager, if nothing else, his control of the organization was absolute and during his tenure political intrigue simmered under the surface but never erupted into outright warfare.

When he left all hell broke loose. Two staffers, Assistant City Manager Horatio Skeete and City Attorney Craig Tindall, were within shouting distance of grabbing ultimate power, that of Interim City Manager. Both probably felt that an outstanding performance could land them the job permanently. Each had their supporters and detractors but vied for the job in dramatically different ways. Craig Tindall’s supporters, were rumored to include among others, Jim Colson, Economic Development Director; Julie Frisoni, Communications and Marketing Director; Fire Chief Mark Burdick and City Auditor Candace Macleod. It is assumed that they knew or at the very least had suspicions of or had heard rumors about the ramifications of the ERP before its eventual disclosure. If they knew and said nothing until disclosure became useful then they are complicit in the cover up. They finally released information about the Trust Fund transfers and the Employee Benefit Program in an effort to smear Skeete. There was no mention of the City Attorney Office’s failure to provide oversight over the ERP. We’ve all heard the phrase that ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

This information was released despite the fact that these decisions were Beasley’s, not Skeete’s. After all, Pam Kavanaugh as Assistant City Manager began the implementation and then retired. When Skeete assumed that role, he was tasked with continuing the implementation. I once asked Skeete why he didn’t play the same game and he told me that was not how he wanted to get the job. There were no monkeys on Skeete’s desk. Council chose Skeete as Interim City Manager and rejected the tactics employed by the Tindall faction.

If council had been informed of the facts when the ERP was first implemented different direction would have been given to the City Manager. To say we were not informed by city management is an understatement. Many of the allegations came to light after Beasley had retired. If the Workmens Compensation and Risk Management Trust Fund Boards had been told the truth reforms could have been instituted.

Now there is a new regime in city management with a new City Manager and soon, presumably a new City Attorney. Heads are rolling with Bolton, Goke, Schurhammer and Skeete placed on administrative leave. It is a strong signal that poor decision making based on a lack of integrity will not be tolerated. The first appointments by City Manager Brenda Fischer are Frisoni as Acting Assistant City Manager and Macleod as Interim Finance Director both of whom appeared to have been actively embroiled in the Interim City Manager warfare. What about Jamsheed Mehta, Stuart Kent, Jon Froke and Erik Strunk who kept their noses clean, hunkered down and did their jobs? What kind of signal has been sent through the organization? House cleaning of a selected few while others suffer no retribution for their actions or lack of disclosure until it became useful does not bode well.

AND THERE’S MORE

The call for an external audit was Norma Alvarez’ baby aided and abetted by a newspaper, the Glendale Star, that appears to have become the mouthpiece for her agenda. She obviously hoped for two outcomes from the audit: finding a pot of gold that somehow had been overlooked; and placing blame directly on former councilmembers. Neither outcome was achieved but it has made her vindictiveness apparent for all to see. She had publicly stated that after the external audit became public she would resign. To date that has not happened but it should. Her contributions to Glendale governance are non-existent. Now she says she will not run again in 2014 but reneging on her promise to resign now signals that she may change her mind as it gets closer to the time to declare reelection intent.

AND THERE’S MORE STILL…MUCH, MUCH MORE

Then there is the question of former mayor Scruggs. Was she involved? That is your decision to make. She has many supporters to this day who will reject the notion of any involvement. I am not a supporter having worked with her for 16 years. Many inside and outside of City Hall were quite aware of her ambitions and her modus operandi. We were never personal friends and for many years were often diametrically opposed on policy issues. Various staffers would often remark privately that there was nothing that went on in Glendale that she did not know about and either approved or disapproved.  In retrospect it appears that this assertion by those staffers seems to be quite accurate.

Below you will see 2 emails that require some explanation.  A Glendale resident, a very intelligent gentleman, now deceased, who had been CEO of several well known national corporations, became concerned about the bonds being issued by Glendale for construction of the arena and surrounding infrastructure. He made a series of Freedom of Information queries. During the course of his inquiries he often updated his progress via email. These are but two of many. The first email forwarded to me relates to the former mayor’s treatment of this gentleman after he spoke publicly about his concerns. The second email on which I was copied, confirms her extensive knowledge of arena finances and her need to know everything. The names of individuals and the topic raised at the time are not pertinent to the illustrations being used to offer some insight into her behavior.

First email********************

From: XXXXX

To: XXXXXX

Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 6:05 PM

Subject: Re: FOI items for Friday

I included the entire exchange because this XXXX gentleman (XXXXX) is asking Glendale some critical questions about the Arena deal. They aren’t answering. He went to Council, waited until the end and stepped up with his questions. Elaine took him aside and berated him for saying these things on Glendale TV. She “doesn’t want the sort of thing out there for the citizens who don’t understand to see”. Scroll down to the last message he sent me. Elaine listened in on a conference call this man had with the financial people of Glendale. She is hiding something…he is close to it….

Second email******************

From: XXXXXX

To: XXXXXXXXX

Cc: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 6:37 AM

Subject: Re: FOI items for Friday

Hi! I called Mr. Schuey (sp.?) at nine am on Friday, as planned, for an hour. I said that I expected to talk primarily to Steve Szymanski because he is closest to the data I desire. He said Steve’s boss would be taking his place instead. I asked who was on the line with him. He said that Steve’s boss, Art Lynch, Mr. Perkins (sp.) and Mayor Scruggs were also there!!!! I wasn’t surprised. I couldn’t tell who was doing the talking, but at least the Mayor kept silent (an amazing act of constraint). With such a large cast of characters, I didn’t expect much. They did clarify some things. 

For example, they said that 4 bond issues were for infrastructure only ($30Million), so not with the Taxable, Tax exempt and a small issue associated with the Arena. All together, the total bond amount is $180Million (Arena plus infrastructure). “They” said that I should only be concerned with the Arena bonds, even though in the budgets all six were together. They said that two of the smaller bonds had been dedicated to other purposes via ordinances passed some time ago. In summary they seemed to be defensive on this small issue. I said that I would concentrate on the two Arena bonds and one small one ($150Million), which is my main interest.

 

They went on about their AAA rating and that Mr. Perkins was their expert, etc, etc. and that they had sculptured the Bond allocation to make it easier to keep the early years payments lower so that their payments would not be too tough at first.

 

This was said because I had previously told Art that the distribution used caused a lot of excess Interest. They don’t like criticism.

So, not much accomplished.

Regards, XXXXXXX

These emails are illustrative of the belief by some people that the former mayor was involved in the slightest minutia of Glendale operations and especially when the issue was a “hot topic.”  What did she know about the Early Retirement Program (ERP) and when did she know it? According the findings of the external audit report the ERP was initiated in March of 2009. At the end of the same month (March, 2009) at the first FY 2010 council budget workshop it is now evident that she had knowledge, not readily available or shared with the councilmembers, of the program’s costs as can be seen from the questions and statements she made relative to the issue. Her actions raise more questions that remain unanswered. Many readers of this blog have knowledge of or examples that attest to her intense and perhaps sometimes, inappropriate, involvement in city affairs. If anyone cares to share please send an email to clarkjv@aol.com. Your information will be handled discreetly.

There you have it – the players, the City Hall climate, the actions taken and the repercussions. It’s not a pretty picture. If you are as angry and disgusted as I, you have every right to feel that way. It’s a bitter chapter in the history of Glendale that occurred on the watch of former City Manager Ed Beasley (retired 2012)/Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete (on administrative leave, 2014) and former Mayor Elaine Scruggs (retired 2013). The mushrooms were former Vice Mayor Steve Frate (retired 2013) and Councilmembers Clark (me, retired 2013), Martinez, Lieberman, Knaack and Goulette (former Ocotillo CM prior to 2010)/ Alvarez (current Ocotillo CM from 2010 to present).

The reforms and controls that will be adopted will help to restore confidence in a financial system run amok. Could it happen again, if not in Glendale, somewhere else? Yes because we are all fallible and can make disastrous decisions. You cannot legislate good character, morality or integrity.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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