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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 171 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I have not only read Glendale’s motion but printed it out. Here is the link if you wish to read the motion: City of Glendale motion June 18 2015 . I have read and reread the motion several times. I suggest that you pay particular attention to the footnotes. In some aspects they are as revelatory as the emails provided in the brief.

Glendale could not have chosen a better attorney to represent its interests in its decision to cancel its contract with IceArizona and subsequent litigation. Here is a link to Cynthia Ricketts’ biography: http://sacksrickettscase.com/our-team/cynthia-a-ricketts/ . She is well respected by her peers and has extensive expertise in the area of litigation that the city requires.

If you noted in state statute A.R.S. § 38-511 it refers to any person “significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating of documents.” Many have focused on the word “negotiating” especially with reference to Julie Frisoni. Please go to Frisoni’s PR website (http://www.frisonipr.com/whoweare/). This is a direct quote from her site, “Crisis communications, including NHL Coyotes negotiations and the near bankruptcy of a city.” It appears that Ms. Frisoni can’t have it both ways. There seems to be a conflict (no pun intended) between her claim on her website citing experience in “NHL Coyotes negotiations” and her recent public denials that she was merely a Communications Director.

Based upon my personal experience as a councilmember from 2000 through 2012 Ms. Frisoni was a close confidant of Ed Beasley, former City Manager, and Craig Tindall, former City Attorney. I did not have a great deal of interaction with Ms. Frisoni for I lacked trust in her. While she may or may not have had a hand in direct, face-to-face negotiations of the currently cancelled contract it appears quite evident that she played an essential role in securing (and insuring) council approval of the contract.

Prior to the contract’s approval by city council, on June 26, 2013, she sent talking points in support of the contract to Councilmember Chavira. In fact, Councilmember Chavira, one of only 2 council votes (the other being Sherwood) that did not support the recent vote to cancel the contract, is using many of those same talking points in his current Glendale Today show on Glendale’s Channel 11. Frisoni also sent an email on June 30, 2013, to the four councilmembers in support of the contract with IceArizona: Councilmembers Sherwood, Chavira, Knaack and Martinez. She seems to have deliberately omitted those that did not support it. In that email she passes on Jeff Teetsel’s (Westgate manager) arguments supporting passage of the contract.

I am quite unhappy with the alleged actions of former city attorney Craig Tindall. When city council originally hired him I was quite pleased. He appeared to be competent and articulate. In 2011 I began to hear rumors that he was supportive of an outside group interested in buying the Coyotes. Back then no one could or would tell me who the group was. Reading the emails between him and Anthony LeBlanc, one of the current Coyotes owners, I was unaware of their obviously close relationship dating back to at least 2010.  Little did anyone know they were meeting at their “usual starbucks.” It is now very difficult to accept the current parsing of words in an effort to minimize Tindall’s involvement in negotiating the IceArizona contract. It appears he was involved up to his lips.

It made me recall an incident at the end of 2012. The city was in the process of negotiation with a Coyotes team purchaser, Greg Jamison. I called Mr. Tindall with some technical questions about the deal. Cryptically, at the end of our telephonic conversation he remarked that if the Jamison deal didn’t make there was another group waiting in the wings. When I asked who, he refused to respond. In hindsight it now makes perfect sense but it raises more questions for me. I remember Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete telling me that Tindall appeared to be stalling and would hold Jamison documents on his desk for days. Skeete would make repeated requests for them which eventually would be fulfilled. Did Tindall deliberately sabotage the Jamison deal in an attempt to make available the opportunity for LeBlanc, et. al.? I honestly don’t know. You will have to decide for yourselves.

Tindall’s seeming self dealing is quite disappointing. As far back as April of 2010 in an email exchange between Daryl Jones of Ice Edge (precursor to IceArizona) Jones says they enjoyed working with Tindall and Tindall responds with “Now that’s an offer.” Was that Tindall’s subtle signal that he was angling for a job with them? Who knows? You decide. Or what about Tindall’s March, 2011, email exchange with LeBlanc urging LeBlanc to take a look at investing in a local medical device company? That action would seem to reinforce the notion that they had a close relationship. Or how about LeBlanc’s asking Tindall in October of 2011 if it was time to have a “confidential chat with Ed” (Beasley) as well as an email exchange between Tindall and LeBlanc about LeBlanc’s May, 2010 meeting with Steve E(llman)? What were these all about? We now know that LeBlanc wanted to buy the Coyotes even before the Jamison offer. We now know through more emails of Tindall’s effort to break a roadblock on July 26, 2013 (after the contract is approved) regarding the city’s paying IceArizona’s lenders directly? He emailed the newly hired City Manager (now former City Manager) Brenda Fischer apparently asserting that it was a simple administrative matter and appears to be urging her to take action.

The email exchange between former Mayor Scruggs and former City Manager Beasley are revealing as well. It appears as if the mayor was determined to get LeBlanc’s Lakehead Yale Sports Holding LLC “Plan B” before the city council in March of 2012. Once again Tindall’s name comes up when she says, “I have checked with Craig Tindall and Mr. LeBlanc’s letter is eligible for discussion under the items as posted.” Tindall seemed to be advocating for any LeBlanc deal.

The emails provided in the city’s motion to modify the Temporary Restraining Order are troubling. They are facts. They are the words of the principals involved. They are damning and not easily explained away.

I end with excepts from an email memo to the entire city council dated June 25, 2013 (a few weeks before council approval) from then Interim City Manager Dick Bowers:

  • “Contrary to what might appear in the papers I don’t see this as a ‘done deal’. Far from it. Discussions continued over the weekend and we have come only slightly closer to comfortable than before. Gary B(irnbaum) has helped to illustrate to the Renaissance group’s (eventually IceArizona) attorney the concerns we have. I suspect this has given them a degree of discomfort.”
  • “Glendale cannot afford a failure. The potential of failure exists as a dark shadow in the absence of the investors standing by their own numbers with confidence enough to simply take them for themselves and do the deal for 6.5.”
  • “While there are many ways to describe the Renaissance’s reluctance I keep coming back to that same discomfort of Glendale having all the risk in this deal. My concerns could mean nothing or they could represent an existential question that must be considered. Will this work for the benefit of the City of Glendale and what makes us firmly believe that it will?”

Mr. Bowers’ crystal ball was certainly working that day yet a few weeks later, 4 councilmembers, Yvonne Knaack, Manny Martinez, Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira voted in favor of the IceArizona lease management deal. I can understand Sherwood and Chavira’s approval votes. They appear to have been blindly joined at the hip with each other as well as IceArizona. The pro votes of Knaack and Martinez are not so easily understood. Each cited the well being of Westgate as a motivator for their decisions. It is troubling that they appear to have put the well being of Westgate over the well being of the City of Glendale. Why did they not heed the words of Interim City Manager Bowers?

No matter. What’s done is done. The discovery of Tindall’s and Frisoni’s actions provide the city with an opportunity to rectify one source of its annual bleeding…whether one uses $15M or $8.7M a year as the loss figure for the city. Many point to the annual debt payment for the Camelback Ranch Spring Training Facility (CRSTF). They say why focus on the arena when CRSTF is just as much of a financial drain. It is. I suspect in due time that financial albatross will be addressed. Development that should have occurred surrounding this facility never materialized as a result of the national recession. Without any promise of current economic development it is an issue the city must address in light of the fact that this council continues to fail to rein in city expenditures.

The pity of it all is the devastation caused to the coaches and players of the Coyotes team. They have been through so much since Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. None of it was of their making. They have become undeserved collateral damage. I hope and pray that their futures will once again become whole and they can take pride in playing under the Coyotes banner.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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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.

When a politician or someone of note has a story about him or her on a Friday, he or she should thank the news media profusely. The general thinking is that a story run on a Friday before a weekend when readers are preoccupied by weekend fun will be rapidly forgotten. It’s a ploy that has been used for years. This time it may not work as well as expected. This story will not fade away and will continue to smolder much like a hay fire burning itself out.

Paul Giblin and Craig Harris wrote a piece in the Friday, January 31, 2014 edition of the Arizona Republic relating possible ethics violations by former Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall entitled “Ethics questions hit ex-Glendale city attorney.” It relates that Tindall attempted to solicit a state income tax credit for his son’s tuition at a private school. He used a city computer to do so. Reportedly he sent his solicitation to at least 40 people. They included:

  • Former City Manager Ed Beasley
  • Former Deputy City Manager Art Lynch
  • Fire Chief Mark Burdick
  • Current Interim Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni
  • Lobbyist Gary Husk (who recently received probation and community service from the court)
  • Chip Scutari, public relations
  • Lynne Greene, Renaissance Hotel General Manager
  • Peter Sullivan, University of Phoenix executive
  • Jim Foss, Jobing.com  executive
  • Attorney Aaron Cain, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Andrew Federhar, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Sharon Oscar, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Cathy Reece, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Sarah Strunk, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Christian Beams, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney Michael Moberly, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney William Wilder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney Former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg, Steptoe & Johnson
  • Attorney Jordan Rose, Rose Law Group
  • Attorney Nicholas Wood, Snell & Wilmer
  • Former Coyotes owner, Steve Ellman
  • Coyotes President Mike Nealy
  • John MacDonald and his wife, Dana Paschke, lobbyists for Glendale
  • Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Jose de Jesus Rivera, Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally

Obviously this is not a complete list. Tindall contends that he was doing a public service by providing information about the state income tax credit for school tuition yet reportedly he happened to mention his son as a possible recipient several times in his “informational emailing.”

You should have problems with his actions if for no other reason than he used a city computer to send what was essentially a personal message/solicitation. One of the first “no-nos” that every city employee learns is that the city equipment, including use of a city computer is for city business only. Tindall and members of his staff taught city ethics to various employee groups and would be very conversant with this restriction.

Hackles should go up at the thought that his very selective recipient list included a lot of people with which Glendale did business. They were put in an awkward position. Would their non-responsiveness hurt them in securing further business from the city? Would their support garner them further business with the city?

Jose de Jesus Rivera, one of Tindall’s email recipients, just happened to secure the contract to conduct the external audit at a cost of over half a million dollars and in one Rivera email response even asked if the RFP for the contract had been released.  Hmmm.

Tindall’s questionable action serves to highlight the web of relationships within the City of Glendale before Ed Beasley’s retirement. Lynch, Burdick and Frisoni were all confidants of former City Manager Ed Beasley. Some of these people had no problem supporting Tindall in his quest to become Interim City Manager by trashing former Assistant City Manager Horatio Skeete who prevailed in securing the job.

It leads to another troubling issue regarding Tindall’s employment. From 2009 until IceArizona’s successful bid to secure the Jobing.com arena management contract Tindall was the city’s attorney. He was privy to the nuances of EVERY deal that came before the city. When he left city employ he spent a brief month at a private law firm before being hired as General Counsel for none other than…can you guess? IceArizona! Several people, including former Councilmember Phil Lieberman, have questioned whether his extensive insider knowledge led to the demise of the Greg Jamison bid and the success of IceArizona. Who knows? We may find out someday…but that “someday” could be just a smidge closer. Lieberman filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office about the propriety of Tindall’s dual employment for several months continuing to advise the city while being employed by IceArizona. We will have to wait and see if it comes of anything but I’m not holding my breath on this one.

The media’s reporting of Tindall’s problematic judgment and self-serving actions brings into question everything he did, every decision that he made during his years as City Attorney. One that comes to mind is his decision to reject just enough voter ballots in the Goulette-Bohart contest for the Ocotillo council district seat resulting in Goulette’s victory. Or his decision to release the audit information about the city’s trust funds at the very same time he was vying to become Interim City Manager should give you pause. Or the extent of his involvement with pro-sales tax increase groups working to defeat the citizen initiative driven election to kill the temporary sales tax increase?

Tindall was viewed as smart, pleasant and competent by some but as the layers begin to fall away we may begin to see a different view…one not so smart, pleasant and competent.

I will be releasing another blog later today with some other interesting tidbits that have been passed on to me as well as the latest Bidwill blast.

I have posted a new, informal poll about Tindall to the left of this column and as usual, if you would like to know when my next blog is posted you can sign up via an email alert to the right of this column. 65% of the responses to my last poll regarding the health of Glendale’s finances said they did not believe that Glendale could straighten out its financial mess.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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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.

As a result of an external audit that cost Glendale in excess of a half million dollars four city personnel either resigned or were terminated. Diane Goke, Budget Director and Sherry Schurhammer, Executive Director of Finance resigned. Horatio Skeete, Assistant City Manager (at the time in question he was a Deputy and Pam Kavanaugh was Assistant City Manager) and Don Bolton, Assistant Financial Officer were terminated by newly hired City Manager Brenda Fischer.

In an Arizona Republic article of October 21, 2013 entitled Appeals board: Staying quiet wasn’t option for ex-Glendale bookkeeper City Manager Brenda Fischer said, “City employees are duty bound to find a way to speak up when warranted.” Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20131018appeals-board-staying-quiet-wasnt-option-for-exglendale-bookkeeper.html . She goes on to say, “Whether it’s going around the management, whether it’s going to the (Attorney General’s) Office anonymously. We had an ethics hotline. They could have anonymously informed the media, put some public pressure on it. They could have written letters to the editor. They could have — if they were uncomfortable being asked to do something inappropriate or illegal — they could have resigned from their employment.” Uh, excuse me but rarely, if ever, are anonymous complaints considered legitimate by the media or Attorney General’s Office and followed up. Since when is a whistle blower required to resign to report wrong doing within the organization?

She must of course be referring to a world peopled by Mother Theresa. Not the real Glendale world as it existed four years ago. There is no such thing as a perfect world, not then and not now – the one that Fischer apparently believes existed at the time. Fischer acted upon her lack of knowledge and her inability to understand a Glendale ruled by City Manager Beasley. She came in as the new City Manager and felt that she needed to make a point.

It was a time of pervasive “Big Brotherism.” If any city personnel had any kind of interaction with a councilmember they were required to report it and its content. Former Councilmember Lieberman’s and my Council Assistant, Perry Baker (now deceased), was terminated because he refused to follow that City Manager directive. It was a time when the atmosphere was heavy with fear and intimidation for all personnel.

 Mr. Skeete and Mr. Bolton graciously shared their submitted correspondence to the city regarding this matter. Mr. Bolton, on page 5 of his correspondence stated, “At this time I would also like to point out that the CM (City Manager) and the executive management team controlled what items were placed on Council agenda’s (sic). The CM and executive management team also performed extensive reviews of all council reports and could slide presentations brought forward by any department. Therefore, all information regarding what to include or not include in any Council presentation had to be reviewed by the CM and executive management team before it could be presented to Council. These CM and executive management team reviews also include multiple ‘dry runs’ where presenters were asked to rehearse their verbal presentations of the content being present to a presenter’s planned ed. It was not uncommon for the CM and executive management team to request modifications verbal and/or slide presentations or the council reports.”

That comment leads to a question long unanswered. Why were these four people targeted exclusively? We know part of the answer. Beasley, Kavanaugh, Tindall, Lynch and Carmicle had left the employ of the city. But other executive management team members stayed and are still there to this day. On page 2 of Gallagher & Kennedy correspondence representing Mr. Skeete it says, “…the City Manager’s Executive Team, including the City Attorney, discussed the ERP (Early Retirement Program) on numerous occasions over the course of several months in 2008-09. Any notion that the staff supposedly tried to hide the ERP from the City Attorney is flatly incorrect.” On page 3 of Mr. Bolton’s correspondence he states, “My email on Exhibit 6 (dated December 15, 2008 used in the external audit) explicitly states…’Sherry, here is the file I received from Craig (Tindall) for the retirement incentive’.” It can be assumed that City Attorney Tindall as part of the Executive Management Team knew of the ERP and its implications. Yet he did not speak up in 2008-09. Why did he wait until 2012 when he was vying with Mr. Skeete for the job of Interim City Manager?

Who were the other members of the Executive Management Team, what did they know and when did they know it? Julie Frisoni as the City’s spokesperson was undoubtedly part of the Executive Management Team and there are emails in the external audit that reflect her knowledge of the Early Retirement Program. Her emails asking for clarification of the factual financial information to be publicly released indicate that she had knowledge of the ERP. Why did she not say anything? According to now City Manager Fischer, she had an obligation to report — to the press, the Attorney General’s Office or the employee hotline. Yeah, right. Keeping quiet got her an appointment by Fischer as an Interim Assistant City Manager, as unqualified as she may be.

The sad part of all of this is that those who appear to be primarily responsible remain unscathed and those who did their bidding at their direction took the pipe. Is life unfair? We all know that it can be but it hits home when it happens to people you know.

Staying quiet in Glendale was an employee’s only option then and guess what? It hasn’t changed. Staying quiet in Glendale is a smart employee option today unless you believe in Fairy Godmothers or Santa Claus.

© 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 Law 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.

Stories about Glendale keep popping up like daisies. The Arizona Republic takes positive glee in reporting negativism witness 2 hits on August 30, 2013. Paul Giblin did a story on the fall out of senior staff in the wake of the external audit and Laurie Roberts takes a pot shot at elected officials. Horatio Skeete, former Assistant City Manager, has been fired and Sherry Schurhammer, former Executive Director of Finance, has resigned. So the pound of flesh sought has been realized.  Make no mistake; they should not be absolved for they carried out the City Manager’s direction. Its’ similar, although not nearly as grievous, to those in Nazi Germany who either carried out Hitler’s directives or did not protest them. The reasons for silence in both instances were similar – fear of serious retribution. But they did not order the direction taken. Will those ultimately responsible be held accountable?

Laurie Roberts casts a wider net and accuses city council of mismanagement saying, “The mismanagement in that place apparently knows no bounds…” Mismanagement is defined as the exercise of executive, administrative and supervisory direction. How could council have given direction when senior staff conspired to hide the truth on actions it had taken by not advising council of the facts? If she had read the external audit thoroughly she would have read on page 19 of the report, “From the onset of the ERP, City Management and staff failed to keep the City Council appropriately informed, at times misled them and/or provided incorrect information. Under the previous administration, City staff was hindered and/or prohibited from providing valuable information to the City Council.”

The news media also reported that former Glendale City Attorney, Craig Tindall, has been hired as General Counsel for IceArizona, the new owners of the Coyotes. This development is not so surprising. Mr. Tindall was intimately involved in all of the arena management deals council considered.   I had several telephone conversations with Mr. Tindall during negotiations of various arena management deals over 4 years. I am sure others on council had similar conversations. There was one conversation in particular that stuck in my memory. I did not record it. I did not take notes but it was unusual enough that I remember the gist of it. During the course of the Jamison negotiations, Mr. Tindall alluded that he had been contacted by other, serious buyers of the team and if the Jamison deal fell through there were others waiting in the wings. It is not hard to imagine one buyer could have been Anthony LeBlanc. Mr. Tindall never named anyone. What did Mr. Tindall share with these other serious buyers that was not privileged or confidential information about contract negotiations? We’ll never know but it appears that some of these serious buyers could have been grateful.

To the news media Glendale has turned into the entrée of the day. Slow news day? I can hear it now. Editor: Geez, there’s not much happening right now. Let’s have Giblin write another story about Glendale. Problem solved. You can tell when it’s a slow news day – just look for a regurgitated story about Glendale. They have created a daisy chain of stories about Glendale, day after day, citing the same information over and over and over again.

I’ll be blogging again after Labor Day.

©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.

Skeete

Horatio Skeete

Yesterday I related sources who indicated that Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete would be resigning. Today I received more accurate information and that is that while Mr. Skeete will no longer be Interim City Manager he will stay with the organization and resume his role as Assistant City Manager.

Who will be the new Interim City Manager? Only the shadow…er, the city council knows…and maybe they haven’t made up their minds yet. So I will throw my speculation into the confusion that exists right now. I question 3would not choose anyone from inside the current organization.  I would hope that this council will not do so either. For them, it’s a case of paranoia. I don’t think they trust anyone inside the organization to provide them with their perceived and long-awaited version of the truth on any subject. It has been rumored for quite some time that this council would do major house cleaning of upper management. There has even been talk of offering a vastly different compensation package to anyone willing to step into this mess and take on the role of permanent City Manager. Expect internal warfare over the final selection of a new City Manager. Let’s hope that once that person is chosen, they can forget their differences and solidify around the selection.

I would choose someone from outside because it would help to foster an atmosphere of impartiality and remove the necessity of taking sides within the organization.

confusion 2Looking outside I don’t see a lot of choices with City Manager experience. I would consider Dr. Martin Vanacour or Richard Bowers.  Dr. Vanacour was Assistant City Manager of Glendale from 1970 to 1985 and then its City Manager from 1985 to 2002. He is experienced, knowledgeable, and certainly well versed in Glendale issues. Since his departure from the city he has been consulting and teaching. Another very viable candidate is Mr. Bowers. He was Assistant City Manager in Scottsdale from 1981 to 1991 and then its City Manager from 1991 to 2000. He has performed various consulting jobs for the past and present council. He, too, has been consulting and teaching.

The City of Glendale would be well served to have either one of these gentlemen as its Interim City Manager for several months until a permanent person is chosen for the position  Either one would bring stability and a sense of impartiality to an otherwise chaotic city management group.

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Skeete

Interim City Manager
Horatio Skeete

Several sources have related that Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete is resigning. No news on who will take his place while City Council continues search for permanent City Manager.  House cleaning by a majority of this council continues.

With resignation of City Attorney Craig Tindall and now possibly Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete it appears Glendale will be adrift for awhile. This is occurring as the council prepares to take up budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2013-14. The two persons most knowledgeable about crafting a lease management agreement for Jobing.com Arena and keeping the Coyotes in Glendale are now or soon will be gone.

 

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Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall

Glendale City Attorney
Craig Tindall

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the City Council held an Executive session for the express purpose of meeting with and discussing the performance of Craig Tindall, City Attorney. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall!

As with all E sessions we will never know exactly what took place and what was said. We do know that Tindall agreed orally to tender his resignation and we now await his formal letter of same. I suspect in the coming days leaks will pour from the City. It’s happened many times in the past and I expect it to occur this time.

Weiers

Mayor Weiers

Mayor Weiers announced that he had asked for Tindall’s resignation and today the Arizona Republic reported Weiers “citing a need to move in a different, more business-friendly, direction.” Weiers is trying to position himself as a strong mayor. Don’t be fooled. In Glendale the City Charter has established a Mayor-Manager form of government. It still takes four votes, or a majority, of the City Council to issue policy or to take any action, including that of asking the City Attorney for his resignation.  As much as Mayor Weiers would like to wave his scepter and make unilateral policy, he still needs to gather 3 more supporters from those pesky councilmembers.

Martinez Knaack Sherwood

Martinez-Knaack-Sherwood

Coalitions are forming among the City Council and their outlines are beginning to emerge. In the same news article, the Arizona Republic quoted Vice Mayor Knaack as saying, “Seriously, I’m going to cry.” One can read into that statement that the Vice Mayor was probably not in the coalition to boot Tindall out. It went on to quote Councilmember Gary Sherwood, “What I don’t like are the people who wanted him to be gone hiding behind a veil that said we’re going a different direction.” Hmmm…don’t think Sherwood was in favor of getting rid of Tindall either. Can we add anyone else to this emerging coalition? How about Councilmember Martinez? It’s no secret that he and Councilmember Alvarez have often clashed publicly. So Coalition #1 is comprised of Knaack, Sherwood and Martinez.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Hugh Chavira

Ian Hugh, Sam Chavira

Coalition #2, almost by default, is Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira. Make no mistake; Councilmember Alvarez is leading this coalition’s parade. Councilmembers Hugh and Chavira owe Alvarez for her marshaling of support for their successful runs, especially from the Tohono O’odham. Norma has said that Tindall “disrespected” her publicly. Why? Because he didn’t give her answers/opinions that supported her statements or her agenda? Which leads one to surmise that if one doesn’t support her point of view or agenda then one is being “disrespectful.”

What then about Mayor Weiers? Right now he’s in the catbird seat. Pick any issue and right now he has the luxury of jumping from one side to the other. He also has the luxury of furthering the animosity that already exists between the two coalitions. He can play both sides against the middle. Wow! All this from a guy who said he was a fence-mender and would work to create harmony on council.

I think what disturbs me about the situation as it played out is the absence of professionalism and the sense of urgency. Why? In four months Tindall would have faced his annual performance review by Council.  That time would have been appropriate for a parting of the ways and the avoidance of embarrassment to a Council appointed employee. Tindall, no matter your opinion of him, served this city for 12, almost 13 years and earned professional action regarding his employment.

I suspect the other Council appointed officials still standing, namely the Interim City Manager and the City Clerk, should be forewarned. A house cleaning appears to be occurring. Why only clean half your house when you can do it all?

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SkeeteEver since former City Manager Ed Beasley left, and perhaps before then…whoTindall knows?…there had been polite distain between Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete and City Attorney Craig Tindall. It came to a head when both men were considered for Interim City Manager. Each had their supporters among the then sitting Council but it was Skeete who prevailed and captured the assignment. As a former councilmember I had opportunity to see the divisiveness first hand.

It now appears that their mutual disdain may have grown to the point where it impedes the operation of the City. Rumors have flown that documents – think Coyotes documents – that needed confusion 3timely action often languished on a desk denying one or the other an opportunity to take action. Some say these actions, if occurring, are designed to make one or the other “look bad” and to destroy the current Council’s reliance and confidence in one or the other. It may have also provided an opportunity for certain people, within and without the organization, to use this circumstance to further their own agendas. These men need to visit the woodshed and be made to understand that such actions are unprofessional at the very least.

Many within Glendale government rely upon these men to insure that operations run smoothly. Theconfusion 2 City Council relies upon their work for information in their decision making processes. If two of the City’s most important managers are unable to work as a unit it creates confusion for everyone.

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Cornfields rippling

Posted by Joyce Clark on February 19, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , | 5 Comments

Rumors are like ripples in a cornfield. They are ephemeral, but they do indicate which way the wind is blowing. This little gem of thought comes from the book Aliens Adored by Susan J. Palmer.
In the absence of fact rumors grow and develop a life of their own. It must be Newton’s or somebody’s law that when a vacuum is created it will quickly fill with rumor and speculation.

Skeete

Horatio Skeete

The newest…well as of this morning…rumor has it that Interim City Manager Skeete may be using Beacon Sports Capital, www.beaconsportscapital.com, as the City’s negotiator with any and all groups/individuals who wish to buy the Coyotes and secure the arena management contract.

Sherwood

Gary Sherwood

It was clear in the February 5 City Council workshop that Councilmember Gary Sherwood called for a negotiator but there was certainly no audible support offered by the other Councilmembers and there was absolutely no direction given by a majority of Council. If it turns out to be true, the use of Beacon Sports may have been an independent action by Interim City Manager Skeete, as there was a plea by CM Norma Alvarez to Mayor Weiers to relinquish his information about the many potential buyers with which he claimed personal contact.

Or perhaps direction may have been given in the less than transparent executive session following that workshop. Rather oddly, objection to executive session decision making has been a recurring theme championed of CM Norma Alvarez and the notion of transparency was a campaign platform for newly elected CMs Ian Hugh, Sammy Chavira and Gary Sherwood. Go figure.

If this latest speculation has indeed occurred where is the public announcement coupled with  revelation about the cost to the City for this new consultancy contract? As a former CM, I seem to remember the need for a vote to hire a consultant unless public direction at workshop is given. I also seem to remember Councilwoman Alvarez’ two years of railing about the City’s use of consultants. Where is her outrage now or was she missing from Council yet again?

Why Beacon Sports? A long standing rumor is that they were involved in the BeaconMoyes bankruptcy. If that is true then what was their role during the bankruptcy? The sports industry is a tightly knit community and there is more than one source out there suggesting that Jerry Reinsdorf’s son Michael, International Facilities Group (IFG) Managing Director, www.ifgroup.cc, may have suggested the use of Beacon Sports to either Mayor Weiers, Interim City Manager Skeete or City Attorney Tindall.

IFGIFG was hired by the City to manage the construction of Jobing.com arena. Beacon Sports was hired by the City to prepare a report issued on February, 2011 that provided a rationale for the Hulsizer deal and the City’s purchase of parking rights for $100M. It almost sounds incestuous, doesn’t it? Does Michael Reinsdorf’s suggestion to use Beacon Sports, which might have been acted upon, give Jerry Reinsdorf and John Kaites an inside track on purchasing the Coyotes?

If any of the above speculation turns out to be true, I ask you.. is this any way to run a circus…er…City?
Check back later today for more rumor mongering after I winnow through the sudden spate of opinions and secret whisperings.

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