Don’t expect any fireworks at this first voting meeting on August 13, 2013 of the Glendale City Council after their summer break. They are still feeling the warm glow of sand, surf, summer and best of all, having been away from one another. Wait until the contentious issues surface such as the results of the external audit. This item once had a relatively small price tag and has now ballooned to half a million dollars.
This meeting will probably last an hour or less. Although there are 24 items to be decided and voted upon 19 of them are on the Consent Agenda and can be voted upon in one action. Only 5 items are not on the Consent Agenda.
This is the last night meeting that will convene at 7 PM. Ordinance 2858 (which we can assume will be approved) will change the evening meeting time to 6 PM at the next meeting in two weeks. It seems counterproductive to move the meeting time up by one hour. To what end and to whose end? It makes it more difficult to arrive by 6 PM for those who work and want to attend. It is tied to another change whereby public comments will be at the beginning of the meeting rather than at the end. This change was made under the guise of accommodation of the hoards of citizens wishing to publicly comment and being made to wait until the end of the meeting. It accommodates the hoard consisting of Ken Jones, Arthur Thruston, Bill Dempski and the Marwicks, regular speakers at every meeting. After all they do go to bed rather early. Ironically, the Marwicks live in Phoenix, not Glendale. In Glendale they have a forum. In Phoenix they do not.
Other changes that will probably be approved on August 13th are: adjusting the term of the Vice Mayor from January to January, a calendar year rather than a fiscal year; instituting a two year term limit of service for councilmembers on subcommittees (too bad it’s not term limits as an elected official); granting staff more time to respond to council items of special interest. It had been 30 days, now it is 60 days; and formalizing the council workshop meeting location in B-3. Mayor Weiers had insisted workshop meetings be held in council chambers. That didn’t last long because it was more expensive and frankly, logistically it simply didn’t work. One action yet to be decided and that will be discussed at the council workshop on August 20, 2013 is the addition of time for prayer at the start of each voting meeting. This item alone could make that workshop session very entertaining.
Item 23, the next to the last item on the agenda, is interesting for the very nature of what it does not contain. It is an update of city signature authorization for banking transactions. It recognizes the new City Manger Brenda Fischer. It retains Horatio Skeet as Assistant City Manager and Jamsheed Mehta as Interim Assistant City Manager. Yet Ms. Fischer placed Mr. Skeete on paid administrative leave pending yet another investigation which she institued. This action to recognize signature authorization could merely be procedural. It is quite conceivable that in 2 weeks they will do it all again and add Julie Frisoni as Acting Assistant City Manager. In her role as acting assistant city manager she will oversee communications, information technology, community and economic development, planning and building safety, intergovernmental affairs and the mayor and council
As an Acting Assistant City Manager, what is Frisoni’s expertise and what are her credentials? There is little public information to be had. She studied communication and broadcasting at Arizona State University – but did she graduate? With a degree in Communications? She worked at KPNX-TV and applied for a communications position with the city. She has no formal training in public administration or business administration and no credentials in managing in any field other than communications/marketing but she has plenty of political savvy. When the former Communications Director left Ms. Frisoni quickly rose to the position of Director of Communications/Marketing. She was part of former City Manager Ed Beasley’s inner power circle and worked closely with him in a position of trust. Which leads one to ask, when Beasley gave direction or approval to move Trust fund revenues was Ms. Frisoni in that staff meeting? Probably. What did she know about the transfers and when did she know it? Ms Frisoni’s temporary promotion shouldn’t come as a surprise since Ms. Fischer’s early career included public relations in Henderson, Nevada and communications in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Sisters under the skin?
So, folks, city council is back along with a new cast of characters. This season’s political dance, fascinating yet often cruel, is about to begin again. What will be the result for the people of Glendale?
©Joyce Clark, 2013
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