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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 201 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

A July 8, 2015 article in the Glendale Star by Darrell Jackson highlights “coincidences” between Councilmember Chavira’s actions and decisions as an elected official and campaign contributions he recently received. Here is the link:  http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_85b74584-25a1-11e5-95e3-6f2610f801ba.html .

Before reviewing his recent bout of troubling “coincidences” it’s time for another history lesson. I admit to bias. In 2012 Chavira defeated me in the election for the Yucca district seat. He had a lot of support from the Maricopa County Democratic Party #1049 which donated $10,000 to his campaign. He had former Glendale Councilmember Norma Alvarez as well as that of Danny Valenzuela, a Glendale firefighter currently serving on the Phoenix City Council, to thank for the Dems support. Although I am sure Alvarez regrets her support of Chavira when he broke from her and voted against her positions on issues. As a Phoenix firefighter he received thousands of dollars from firefighter union chapters as well benefitting from their independent expenditures on mailers, flyers, signs and manpower. He also received tremendous support from the Hispanic community and used “dreamers” almost exclusively as his foot soldiers. He outspent me in the order of $5 to $1.

During that election cycle some elements of his questionable past actions became public. Just prior to the 2012 election Sammy and Danny were members of the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters (NAHF). Sammy was removed as a Vice President and both men resigned because they allegedly bore responsibility for loss of funds from an NAHF fund raising event. The event may have made money but not for the NAHF. All it received were the bills.

That specific NAHF event was produced by the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG): Art Jimenez and Tony Herrera. Herrera, a firefighter, has his own business, One Consulting, and also had a  business relationship with Chavira’s wife (and Chavira). Sammy and Danny advocated for hiring them to run the event. Apparently a lot of “funny stuff” happened with scenes (ala the Mafia) of Sammy apparently riding around in a golf cart with Herrera collecting money from the vendors…money never seen again or accounted for to the NAHF.

The Phoenix Monarch Group’s history has a lot of its own question marks. Prior to IceArizona’s successful acquisition of the Arizona Coyotes PMG appears to have had former Mayor Scruggs and former Councilmember Alvarez as advocates as they attempted to secure a contract to manage Glendale’s arena. All of the relationships mentioned are entangled like a giant ball of snakes. It seems as if Sammy’s previous ethical “coincidences” turned out to be precursors’ of his current ethical “coincidences.”

Sammy received a contribution of $500 on February 2, 2015 from Nicholas Wood.  Wood is also one of IceArizona’s stable of legal counsels. On June 10, 2015 the city council voted 5-2 to cancel the IceArizona management contract for the arena. Sammy just happened to be one of two votes against cancellation. Hmmm…

Then on March 23, 2015 Michael Curley (recently deceased) who represented the Bidwills on many of their projects in Glendale, including Sportsmen’s Park East and West, donated $500 to Chavira. A day later, on March 24, 2015, the city council workshop included a discussion of the infamous, Taj Mahal Westgate parking garage. Chavira seemed to have no problem with sticking the cost of this over priced garage to Glendale taxpayers. Hmmm…

Here’s one to watch. Jacob Long, son of deceased John F. Long, is nearly ready to make application for rezoning of a large parcel of land south of the Grand Canal to Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue. Unless, there are some changes to the zoning plan by Long, neighbors will not be happy and can be expected to protest this one. On February 23, 2015, Long made an yet another contribution to Chavira of $500 bringing his cumulative total to date to $930. Hmmm…

Yet another example of a Chavira’s “coincidence” is recent contributions from firefighter unions. At the April 21, 2015 city council workshop Chavira read a prepared stump speech in support of the Glendale firefighter union request for more funding. A few days later, on April 23, 2015, Phoenix Fire Fighters Local 493 (Fire PAC) gave Sammy $1,000 followed by April 27, 2015, donations of $1,000 from the Peoria chapter and $1,000 from the Tempe chapter. You would think he bears a conflict of interest. Hmmm…

Does it seem that Sammy is ethically challenged? Does it seem to you that his relationships seem questionable? Does it seem that if you have enough money to play he will advocate for you? Does it seem that Sammy is not making decisions in the best interest of Glendale but rather in the best interest of his campaign contributors…Becker billboards…a flip-flop from his campaign platform of denial to approval of the IceArizona contract…no vote on IceArizona contract cancellation…advocacy for more money for firefighters with the use of scare tactics…making the temporary sales tax permanent? Hmmm…

© 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.

On January 29, 2015, just days before the Super Bowl,Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers got his 2 tickets to Sunday’s game. Weiers had said publicly that to see a Super Bowl played in his hometown,Glendale, was on his bucket list. Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods, a chain located in the Northeast, bought Mayor Weiers the 2 tickets from the NFL. Weiers received them today when he attended a Friar’s Roast of Terry Bradshaw at the Arizona Biltmore. 

Correction: Weiers made clear that the face value of the Super Bowl tickets would be matched by a personal donation to the Shriners. The Roast attended by Mayor Weiers did not require tickets as he made a brief appearance to accept the Super Bowl tickets and then left for other committments.

Now we are two for two. In 2008 former Mayor Scruggs publicly whined about not being invited to the Super Bowl. The NFL offered her 2 tickets at a face value of $700 each. She turned them down saying she couldn’t afford them. Shortly thereafter the Arizona Host Committee gave her 2 free tickets.

It is embarrassing that 2 successive Glendale mayors have literally begged, publicly, for Super Bowl tickets. Is there no pride?

By the way, 99% of the Valley’s elected officials have not purchased tickets even when available and most are not attending the Super Bowl. The only acknowledged officials going are Governor Ducey, Senator McCain and Representative Ruben Gallego and his wife Kate. All paid for their tickets. Way to go, Mayor, past or present.

© 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.

Jamsheed Mehta, Executive Director of Transportation, and briefly Interim Assistant City Manager for the City of Glendale is leaving on March 12, 2014 to serve the City of Marana. Jamsheed has been with the city since 2005 and in that period his quiet intelligence and competence has served the city and him well. It is disappointing to see that he did not receive the appointment as Assistant City Manager.

His departure may very well be a precursor to the exodus of other talented employees who see the handwriting on the wall under the current regime. Many have indicated their concern as City Manager Brenda Fischer (from the Town of Maricopa) surrounds herself with Town of Maricopa cronies or Glendale employees with questionable resumes earned under the tutelage of former City Manager Ed Beasley.

There is now a readily identified coalition within councilmember ranks that form a majority on most issues. It consists of Vice Mayor Knaack and Councilmembers Sherwood, Martinez and Chavira. The minority is Mayor Weiers and Councilmembers Hugh and Alvarez.

It is not so surprising that Knaack and Martinez would join with Sherwood and Chavira. Some have speculated that both are tired, burnt out and so have opted for the path of least resistance. Both will not be running for reelection and have blessed others to take their places. Martinez has endorsed Robert Petrone, seemingly a man of questionable substance considering his financial past. Knaack is rumored to pass her legacy on to Bill Toops, owner/publisher of the Glendale Star. A man who could experience conflict from the very start, if he runs and is successful in getting elected, as he tries to serve two masters: the paper which provides him income and a city which in the past has often dismissed his paper’s relevance.

Weiers has got to find a way to raise his visibility as Glendale’s mayor in the community. It’s a problem that all mayors in Glendale have had. It used to drive former Mayor Scruggs nuts. In poll after poll, most respondents could not name her as mayor and when they did, they often mispronounced her name as Scaggs or Shruggs. Weiers may be taking actions that are good for Glendale but unfortunately no one knows what they are. He should be wary of Councilmember Sherwood’s ambition.

It is said that Sherwood is in his office in City Hall every day and has de facto assumed the role of Mayor. Why not? Sherwood has the ear of the City Manager. Sherwood is riding high these days with 3 other votes behind him but fortunes can change on a dime. One of his more questionable actions was to actively insert himself into the selection process for a new City Manager. It is said that he met privately, one-on-one, with Ms. Fischer during the process and then actively solicited support of the other councilmembers for her acceptance. There is nothing illegal about his action but ethically it is highly unorthodox. No other councilmember in memory has ever had a private, one-on one with a potential City Manager candidate and then actively lobbied for same.

Everyone acknowledges that Fischer owes Sherwood big time for her hiring. Also of note is Fischer’s spouse is either still a fire fighter in Henderson, NV or was a fire fighter there for years. Add to that Frisoni’s spouse is or was a police officer. Will these relationships color their actions toward public safety? We may have seen it already as one of Fischer’s first actions was to bring the fire department deficit before council allowing it to receive additional funding. No other department received that kind of consideration.

Chavira, on the other hand, appears to be silent, nearly invisible, merely along for the ride, cutting the best deals that he can for him and his fire department union buddies. That is not surprising either as we have seen questionable fire union actions involving his participation prior to his successful bid for a council seat. Alvarez’ past actions and record make her irrelevant. She has a record of contributing little or nothing to crafting solutions. Hugh, on the other hand, has an opportunity to break out. There have been a few flashes when he has spoken that give hint to a thoughtful man.

Based upon the current political landscape where is Glendale headed? Perhaps down the proverbial rabbit hole where “up “is “down” and “down” is “up.” Glendale appears to have two paths before it: Bankruptcy where city debt and rising O&M expenses are so high that no amount of palliative change orchestrated by Fischer, et.al., can save it; or a Glendale saved from falling over the cliff but divested of all that we love about it, lean and mean, soulless but saved.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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.

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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