Today, June 4, 2013 Glendale council will conduct a workshop meeting. Here is the link to the agenda: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/060413.pdf
Workshops are not like regular evening meetings. They are intended as a means of staff bringing forward subjects they believe are important or staff is responding to a councilmember’s request for further study on a subject. Unlike night meetings there is no opportunity for public comment.
The public agenda is short. There are only two items: an update on Glendale’s airport and council selection of its members for the two standing subcommittees, Government Services and Sustainability as well as selection of Vice Mayor. The airport issue is one that Councilmember Sherwood brought forward. For years the airport has been vexing as it has never reached its full development potential. That is a topic for another posting. We could see some interesting dynamics play out in the self selection of councilmembers to serve on the two standing subcommittees.
The more troubling aspect of the agenda is the Executive Session agenda. Executive Sessions are designed to allow council and staff to discuss, in a non-public setting, contracts, personnel and property leases/purchases. Its interpretation is often overly broad by a city’s legal department. There are 8 items on the Executive Session agenda. It is 4 times as long as the open session! Some of topics placed on the Esession agenda are questionable and were not decided in favor of the public.
One of the topics is the city’s external audit requested by this council. There have been several Esessions that included a secret discussion of this item. One would think that since this has been visited in Esession several times previously that a public update would be provided. Tsk…tsk, council. So much for transparency.
Another item that was previously discussed in workshop is the Cardinals training camp proposal. See this link to get more information from council’s March 5, 2013 workshop: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/030513.pdf . The original proposal wasn’t so hot for the city. Since it was discussed in open session previously it probably would have been a good idea to bring this item forward publicly once again. So much for transparency.
There are two more items that certainly deserve public scrutiny. Both relate to Jobing.com arena and the Coyotes ownership. The drop dead date for submissions to Beacon Sports, the city’s consultant, for arena management was May 31, 2013. Of course, at city discretion, it can accept bids after that date because of the disclaimer clause in the RFP. One Esession item deals with “potential agreements related to the management of the arena” and the other Esession item is to provide “instruction in connection with potential agreements related to the Hockey Team…”
Yet Mike Sunnicks in his story of June 3, 2013 in the Phoenix Business Journal quoting Glendale spokesperson Julie Watters, says, “Initial responses to the RFP have been received by Beacon Sports. The submissions are currently being reviewed by Beacon to determine completeness and if they qualify for further consideration,” Watters said. “We will follow up tomorrow (Tuesday) with Beacon to determine the status.” Sunnicks provides the reader with a rehash of old information — nothing new. This is the link to his story: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2013/06/glendale-awaits-qualified-bids-for.html?ana=twt
Yet this is one of the secret items to be discussed by council at its workshop today (Tuesday). Methinks the council has been given a report by Beacon with those who have made bids (to date) to manage the arena. How else could council discuss this very topic? So much for transparency.
Cardinals training camp proposal…external audit…management of city owned arena…the hockey team’s very survival in Glendale…all topics of extreme interest to the people of Glendale. Yet the only discussion to be had will be secret. So much for transparency.