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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

There’s certainly been a lot of news concerning Glendale this week:

  • On February 20, 2015 the group led by Anna Lee filed the necessary paperwork once again to recall Councilmember Gary Sherwood of the Sahuaro district. The group’s first effort was denied by the city on various grounds. Consider their first effort a life’s lesson. They now know exactly what eyes to dot and tees to cross. Expect them to gather the necessary signatures to compel the city to call for a Sherwood recall election. If you would like to sign the petition (must live in the Sahuaro district)  and/or help gather signatures please call 602-657-0303 and your call will be returned.
  • The city council accepted former City Manager Brenda Fischer’s resignation effective April 3, 2015. Her request of the emails of only 3 councilmembers may have been the last straw for council.
  • The city council appointed former Scottsdale City Manager Dick Bowers as Glendale’s Interim City Manager. Mr. Bowers has filled this position before during the last search by council for a city manager. One of his first decisions was to retain the services of Jon Froke as the city’s Planning Director.
  • Mayor Jerry Weiers, on Friday, February 20, 2015 issued the following statement regarding the proposal to sell Foothills Library and relocate it to the Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center:

“Over the past few weeks, the citizens of Glendale have voiced their opinion regarding the proposed relocation of the Foothills Branch Library. Their voice has been almost entirely united in opposition to the proposal. While I share their concerns and am personally opposed to the proposal, I await the recommendation of the Library Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Arts Commission. “I am glad that Glendale residents have taken such an active role on this issue. Ever since it was announced, I urged staff to seek the input of the public to ensure that our citizens were incluced an any propoal to alter the library. It is my sincere hope that Glendale residents will continue to actively participate in this and other important issues facing our great city. “I also thank Midwestern University for their long-term support of the Glendale community. In addition to producint hundreds of doctors, pharmacits, physician assistand, and many other types of medical professionals every year, Midwestern opens their campus to the community through clinics and other wonderful events. Our City is a better place because they are here.”             

  • Tony Tavares, the former president of Disney Enterprises and the Anaheim Ducks, will conduct an audit of the Arizona Coyotes’ financials for $45,000 (anything over the $50,000 cap would require council approval). The audit was supposed to have begun by the end of September. It has been delayed because IceArizona has taken over 5 months to perform its own audit and still is not finished. With this audit the city will be able to examine revenue sources related to the Coyotes and Gila River Arena. Tavares was involved with Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox in a failed 2011 attempt to buy the Coyotes…hmmm.
  • In the Glendale Republic of February 21, 2015, under the title of West Valley Sound Off, elected officials were asked their thoughts on SB 1435 which would gut Arizona Open Meeting law. Mayor Kenn Weise of Avondale expressed opposition as did Councilman Roy Delgado of El Mirage and Councilman Jamie Aldama of Glendale. Not so with Councilman Gary Sherwood. Still smarting from an ongoing Attorney General’s Office into allegations of violation of the Open Meeting Law, he said, “I do believe that reform is needed to allow for additional dialogue amongst the council” and “On Glendale’s seven-member counci, it is difficult to speak to three other members without violating the law.” Well, if anyone should know, he should.
  • Each of the three citizen commissions who heard the presentations on selling the Foothills Library last week will be meeting again this coming week. Citizens are welcome to attend as they are public meetings BUT it will NOT be an opportunity for citizen comment but rather an opportunity for the commission members to have their questions answered by staff and then to decide on an advisory recommendation to the city council. The meeting dates are as follows:
  • Glendale Arts Commission at the Foothills Recreation Center on Monday, February 23, 2015, 6 PM
  • Library Advisory Board at the Foothills Library on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 6 PM
  • Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission at the Adult Center on Thursday, February 26, 2015, 6 PM

© Joyce Clark, 2015 FAIR USE NOTICE 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.

Please note: I just received confirmation a few minutes ago that Jon Froke will not be resigning and will remain the city’s Planning Director. Thanks to Interim City Manager Dick Bowers for reviewing this situation and reversing the former City Manager Fischer’s decision.

Why is Planning Director Jon Froke resigning suddenly under mysterious circumstances? Here are the circumstances known to date. First, be advised this is not about Ms. Barbara Lentz. She is an unwitting participant and it could have happened to anyone. She is in no way to be considered as having done anything wrong.

On October 28, 2014 Ms. Lentz was appointed to the General Plan Steering Committee representing the Sahuaro district (Councilmember Gary Sherwood’s district) by the city council. Typically if an appointee is present that evening that person takes the Loyalty Oath at the council meeting. When an appointee is not present the Loyalty Oath is taken at the first meeting of the committee to which the person has been appointed. Apparently Ms. Lentz was not present that evening. On December 3, 2014 Ms. Lentz attended her first General Plan Steering Committee meeting and took the Loyalty Oath at that time. A regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was held on January 8, 2015. In the minutes of that meeting roll call identifies the following commissioners as present: Johnston, Hirsch, Lenox, Berryhill and Lentz. Ms. Lentz voted as a Planning Commissioner that evening. Without Lentz there would have been no quorum of the commission and the meeting would not have been held.

Now the mystery begins. How did Ms. Lentz sit as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner that evening? A review of council minutes for the two months preceding her sitting as a Planning Commissioner shows that city council did not appoint her to that position. How did she get there? City council minutes confirm her appointment as a General Plan Steering Committee member, not as a member of the Planning Commission.

There were three items on the Planning Commission’s agenda of January 8, 2015. One item, a Conditional Use Permit passed on a 3-2 vote with Ms. Lentz’ voting in the majority. The other two agenda items were passed unanimously by the 4 regularly seated Planning Commissioners.

Mr. Froke was not in attendance at the January 8, 2015 meeting. That is not unusual. If it were an agenda item of major significance or one that may be considered complex or contentious he would have been there. The items on that night’s agenda fit none of those criteria. In his stead Ms. Tabitha Perry of the Planning Department and Liaison to the Planning Commission was in attendance. It is also typical to have someone from the City Attorney’s office be in attendance to advise on any legal matters. Ms. Deborah Robberson, Chief Deputy City Attorney was in attendance.

Why didn’t Ms. Robberson and especially Ms. Perry, as the Planning Commission’s Liaison, raise an objection to Ms. Lentz’ seating that evening as a Planning Commissioner? Did they not know that Ms. Lentz had not been appointed a commissioner? If they did not know, why not? Ms. Perry as the Planning Commission’s Liaison is expected to be thoroughly conversant with all areas surrounding the Planning Commission. How could she not be aware that Ms. Lentz was not appointed by city council as a Planning Commissioner?

From here on the information is sketchy. It seems that former City Manager Fischer had an investigation into the whole matter which appears to have resulted in the resignation of Planning Director Jon Froke and the appointment of…you guessed it…Ms. Tabatha Perry as Acting. The very same Tabatha Perry who apparently didn’t have a clue as Liaison for one of her areas of responsibility. The first question that comes to mind is, did Councilmember Sherwood influence or urge former City Manager Fischer to ask for Mr. Froke’s resignation? Sherwood appears to have been quite unhappy with Froke’s performance on some of his pet issues. None of this makes any sense right now. If it was Fischer’s desire that a Director take the fall, shouldn’t Michael Bailey, the City Attorney, have received the same investigative treatment? After all, his designee, Ms. Robberson, was also present at this weird Planning Commission meeting and did nothing.

Jon Froke has been the consummate professional and a loyal employee of the city for many years. He listens…not just to the developers with a project but to the concerns of residents and does his best to balance both points of view. I will be the first to admit that I do not know “the rest of the story.” I would hope that Interim City Manager Dick Bowers would review the entire situation and that his findings would result in a return of Mr. Froke to his position of Director of Planning for the City of Glendale. It appears from the outside looking in, that an injustice has occurred and only Mr. Bowers can resolve it.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

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.

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