I called people and did internet research on Fischer all day yesterday. I believe that I know why she resigned. You will have to be patient and follow the bouncing ball on this one. Please note: all persons with whom I spoke wish to remain anonymous; and I received no information of any sort from anyone regarding any city council executive session. Since much will not be verified it is up to you to decide if the reason offered for her resignation has any merit. This reasoning is based upon deduction or for want of a better term, gut instinct and my experience as a Glendale city councilmember for 16 years.
I already related some of the internet information that I or anyone else, for that matter, could find on the internet about Fischer. There was a job buyout in North Las Vegas, Nevada before she moved on to Glendora, California as a Deputy City Manager. She left Glendora after a few years and was hired as City Manager at Maricopa, Arizona. I have already related the circumstances of her job moves in a previous blog. It seems as if Fischer never stays too long in one place and there seem to be difficulties surrounding her moves which she may have instigated and some of which she may have perceived as being instigated against her by others.
She was hired by Glendale in July of 2013. What remains troubling to this day is that Councilmember Gary Sherwood publicly stated that he met with Fischer prior to her hiring and essentially conducted a private job interview. He became her greatest cheerleader and publicly advocated for her hire.
City hall has walls that talk. During the past 18 months there have been anecdotes of her tirades and her apparent desire for absolute control. Several heard recently now make sense. It seems that Fischer confronted Councilmember Tolmachoff in the hallway and apparently accused her of being a troublemaker. Some folks related that she also talked about suing the Glendale Star and Chamber CEO Robert Heicht for defamation of character for publicly relating her recent temper tantrum in a local restaurant. Of the most recent vintage was her apparent belief that certain councilmembers were not on her side. Her plan was seemingly to bring them down through what she assumed she would discover in her request for their emails.
All of this information leads me to believe that soon-to-be former City Manager Brenda Fischer offered her resignation rather than be fired because she appears to have crossed an ethical line in requesting her bosses’ emails. There is no nefarious plot to uncover.
The City Manager, City Attorney, City Judge and City Clerk are appointed by the city council. They serve at the pleasure of that body. They have the power to hire and fire the persons in those positions. One simply does not request hard copies of bosses’ emails and expect not to suffer repercussions. If nothing else her action violated the International City Managers Association Code of Ethics. You will have to decide if her action was ill conceived and inappropriate and if it merited her termination.
Here’s what may have occurred and based upon recent events are more likely true than not. After the councilmembers were notified (this is usually done by the City Clerk) of Fischer’s request for emails an executive session was scheduled. Fischer would have been advised of the topic, namely her action requesting councilmember emails. Someone had to have advised her that it seemed quite possible that there would be a majority of 4 councilmembers seeking her dismissal.
Rather than apologize or defend her actions apparently she decided not to attend the executive session and to have her resignation delivered to that body in lieu of firing. Based upon council dynamics it is likely that Councilmembers Sherwood, Chavira and Aldama were not willing to accept her resignation. Perhaps they hoped they could persuade one of the councilmembers to stand with them. Apparently that was not going to happen and the majority, Mayor Weiers, Councilmembers Hugh, Turner and Tolmachoff were steadfast in their willingness to accept her resignation. I suspect the conversation during that executive session was lively indeed. It’s ironic. Now that Fischer has resigned all sorts of people are opening up and sharing their experiences.
We knew the result of that executive session when Mayor Weiers made the resignation announcement. So, a note to all of you media types out there. Don’t bother requesting the thousands of emails generated by those three councilmembers. There’s no smoking gun within them. No, Fischer, apparently to avoid firing for what could be viewed as an imprudent and unethical action chose to resign.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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