It has been 17 years and 287 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On September 20, 2015 former Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick pulled a packet to begin the process to run for mayor of Glendale. That sparked many asking if I would run for mayor. The answer is “no.” I am really enjoying my retirement as well as my new found freedom to comment on Glendale’s issues.

Personally, Mr. Burdick is gregarious and affable. He is a nice man but I know a lot of nice people who do not possess the qualities one would expect of a mayor.

There are two major factors about Burdick that voters should consider a year from now when the election occurs. One is the history of his past associations. Burdick was in the Beasley/Fischer-Frisoni-Tindall inner circle.  Apparently Beasley left as city manager while he could for surely he would have been terminated for his alleged favoritism, i.e, allowing Alma Carmichel, former HR Director, to telecommute from Mississippi; and allowing Art Lynch, former Finance Director, to profit handsomely as a consultant after he left Glendale’s employ. Fischer left as city manager after her actions of publicly berating the Glendale Chamber of Commerce President and in a retaliatory move requested councilmember emails. Tindall and Frisoni were employees who allegedly used their positions to further the goals of the Coyotes ownership group in its dealings with the city. Also Burdick appears to support Councilmember Sherwood who is facing recall on November 3, 2015. Burdick continues to maintain a relationship with Frisoni for he hired her to design the marketing package for his brand new company. In fact, I still remember the evening at a function at Westgate when Burdick and Frisoni lobbied me to choose Tindall as Glendale’s Interim City Manager. There is an old adage that you are judged by the company you keep.

The other major issue is the question of the effectiveness of Burdick’s leadership while he was Glendale’s Fire Chief. It appears that Burdick ceded his vision and leadership to the Glendale Fire Union. Fire union employees are sprinkled throughout the organization in decision making positions and other positions of power. Burdick seemed powerless to rein in the fire union’s agenda and goals. He didn’t seem to have the backbone to stand up to them and to advance an agenda that was good for all of Glendale – not just the fire union. Burdick, as fire chief, would have occasional but regular lunch meetings with councilmembers. I always felt as if I were listening to the fire union’s emissary. Several times I suggested that Burdick had to gain control of his department and I would get silence and this seemingly “deer in the headlights” look from him. His leadership skills are in doubt.

Make no mistake; Burdick will enjoy the full force and resources of the fire union’s support in his quest for mayor. That means that every Valley fire union chapter (except Glendale for that would violate the federal Hatch Act) will donate to his campaign. All of these chapters will “volunteer” labor to put up his campaign signs (while helping opposing candidates’ signs to disappear or be vandalized) and droves of firefighters will walk the length and breadth of Glendale handing out pro-Burdick flyers. The big gorilla, the Phoenix chapter, will do the same in spades, in addition to making independent expenditures for campaign mailers. They want Burdick in as mayor…badly. Can you imagine the coup of having a former fire chief as the mayor of one of the largest cities in the state?

Again, Mr. Burdick is a nice man but you vote for him at your peril. Do you want a mayor who will advance the fire union’s agenda by pouring resources into the fire department at the expense of every other department in the city? The city only has so much money in its General Fund. Do you want your General Fund tax dollars being used for fire almost exclusively while ignoring libraries, parks, streets and a host of other essential needs?

Mayor Jerry Weiers will face a tough reelection. If he expects to prevail he had better get out into the community now. To this day many consider him invisible. He needs to up his public profile. Burdick is already hitting Weiers on the decision to cancel the Coyotes contract and to enter into a two year deal with them. That decision will play well with many voters because it reduced the burden on taxpayers considerably and they like that. Weiers still faces the possible specter of having Sherwood and/or Aldama run for mayor as well.

Burdick will receive a lot of help in his campaign. Don’t become mesmerized. He, like anyone else, has feet of clay. His associations with seemingly bad actors within Glendale government and his seeming inability to lead his own department are Burdick’s feet of clay.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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