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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 323 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Ed Beasley is no longer the Interim City Manager of Ferguson, M0 as of today, November 20, 2015. Here is the link: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2015/11/19/ferguson-city-council-thanks-interim-city-manager-for-service/ . He spent 5 months on the job. The city has hired De’Carlon Seewood whose last employment with Ferguson was as Assistant City Manager from 2001-2007.

Does anyone believe that Andre Anderson, appointed as Ferguson’s Police Chief, would stay after his mentor and good friend, Beasley, left? That would be no. Here is the link: http://www.kmov.com/story/30569427/fergusons-interim-police-chief-announces-resignation . Anderson is also headed back to Glendale to resume his position as Commander. By the way, the City of Glendale never answered the question regarding Anderson’s pay. To this day, the public does not know if Glendale subsidized his pay while he worked in Ferguson.

FROM THE RUMOR MILL THIS FRIDAY: No one has done more to aggregate power to himself lately than Brent Stoddard. Stoddard is the Director of Intergovernmental Relations in the Glendale organization. One of his duties is to manage the city council offices. Lately he has hired some new people to staff the councilmembers. It’s safe to assume that their loyalty will be to Stoddard and no one else. Stoddard was rooting for John Pombier of Mesa to get the job of city manager. Stoddard already had a working relationship with Pombier and would have continued to lobby for an appointment as an assistant city manager. Several people have also shared that Stoddard speaks on a regular basis with former Mayor Scruggs and it is he who shares all things Glendale with her. Others speculate that Stoddard is already in the Mark Burdick camp in his quest to become the next mayor of Glendale.

Government service rests on successful politicking and politics is nothing if not wonderfully Machiavellian.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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It has been 17 years and 233 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Slavin Management Consultants, the firm hired for the city manager search, should be presenting its list of finalists to the city council at any time. What should the Glendale city council consider in choosing finalists?

During my 16 years on city council I worked with various interim and permanent city managers, Dr. Martin Vanacour, Ed Beasley, Horatio Skeete and Dick Bowers. I never worked with Brenda Fischer which was probably a good thing. I think we would have butted heads from day one and I quickly would have been at the top of her *hit list.

What qualities did these city managers possess that served them, the city council and the people of Glendale well? One major quality was that of responsiveness to anyone and everyone. Under Dr. Vanacour it didn’t matter if a citizen was a ditch digger or stock broker. If a citizen called his office, without fear or favor, every issue received a quick and efficient response. Sometimes an issue was resolved to the citizen’s satisfaction…sometimes not but every issue got an answer…not in weeks but in days. The same occurred with councilmember questions and requests.

Another quality that stood Dr. Vanacour, and now Dick Bowers, in good stead there was, and is, no favoritism shown toward any councilmember. All were, and are, treated equally and with respect. Information provided to one councilmember was also provided to the rest of the council. Neither had or has a reporting system where employees are required to report every interaction with a councilmember to the city manager’s office.

Council requires a city manager that shares information willingly and openly and in a timely manner with city council and citizens. Many of council’s previous decisions during the tenure of Ed Beasley were made in either a vacuum or with ginned up information designed to get council to approve a specific outcome. Dr. Vanacour practiced sharing complete information and Dick Bowers is doing the same. If Dick Bowers were willing, Glendale could not do better than to hire Dick Bowers on a permanent basis. However, Mr. Bowers is retired. He graciously agreed to serve short term in Glendale’s hour of need. He wants to be retired once again and to spend time with his family and friends. He’s earned it.

The next city manager must show that he or she truly respects and values all employees within the Glendale governmental family. For too long Glendale’s employees have experienced a work atmosphere based upon fear and favoritism. The city manager must show no bias toward any specific department and make financial resource decisions and recommendations to council based upon the most effective use of taxpayer dollars.

The city manager’s fiscal philosophy should be a conservative one. He or she should believe, as a core principle, that a government’s fiscal decisions are not based on tax increases or growing the size of government. Glendale has learned the hard way that it’s not the size of government that determines the quality of service to its citizens. It learned that the same superior service delivery can be accomplished despite the reduction in the number of employees delivering the service. It’s an individual’s commitment to excellence that counts…not the number of employees on the payroll.

Council should look for a city manager with extended experience, intelligence and adaptability. The last thing the city needs is someone who has been a department head or assistant somewhere. The city needs a city manager with city manager experience and knowledge. The candidate has to have the requisite knowledge and flexibility to hit the ground running.

Lastly, the new city manager must learn to love Glendale. Dr. Vanacour did and still does to this day. Mr. Bowers, retired city manager of Scottsdale, has always exhibited a love for and genuine concern for Glendale. That is obvious in his commitment to serve as its Interim City Manager. Glendale owes Dick Bowers a great deal.

I would strongly suggest that the citizens of Glendale are offered the public opportunity to “meet and greet” all of them before the final selection. This is so important for Glendale and gaining public support at the outset will help smooth the transition to a new city manager. A “meet and greet” not just for stakeholders such as Chamber of Commerce folk or college presidents but for ordinary citizens who take an active interest in and participate in their local government.

In summary, it is my hope that city council will weigh and measure these qualities of the city manager candidates very carefully:

  • Responsiveness to all
  • Respect for all
  • Practices open government
  • Respects and values all employees
  • Conservative fiscal philosophy
  • Previous city manager experience
  • Intelligence and adaptability
  • Willingness to embrace the entire community

© 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.

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