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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 173 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Another blog milestone: 250,000 reads of my blog. My thanks to everyone who has taken the time to follow me. It is appreciated.

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

Ed Beasley, Courtesy City of Glendale

On June 9, 2015, the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran a story by Stephen Deere announcing that Glendale’s former City Manager Ed Beasley has been hired as Interim City Manager for 6 months in Ferguson, Missouri. The first reaction from many in Glendale has been absolute speechlessness followed by a stunned “Wow!” Here is the link:  http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ferguson-about-to-hire-an-interim-city-manager-accused-of/article_399ec201-78c8-5acc-883b-d5ad6b21f718.html?mobile_touch=true .

I didn’t know much about Ferguson demographically although it is nationally known as the recent birthplace of Afro-American civil unrest characterized by the false chant of “Hands up…don’t shoot.” According to the census bureau (here is the link: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2923986.html) the comparisons of Ferguson and Glendale are stark:

  • Ferguson has a population of 21,111; Glendale has a population of 230,000.
  • Ferguson’s racial makeup is 67% black and 29% white; Glendale is 67% white and 6% black.
  • The median value of a home in Ferguson is $93,700; Glendale is $144,300.
  • Ferguson’s median household income is $38,685; Glendale’s is $47,474.

Ed Beasley had a long and storied 17 year career with the City of Glendale. He began his tenure in Glendale in 1998 as Assistant City Manager under Former City Manager Dr. Martin Vanacour. In 2002 Elaine Scruggs became the council appointed mayor after Mayor Quentin Tolby resigned. From the start of her tenure as mayor she seemed to butt heads with Vanacour and shortly thereafter he resigned and Beasley was appointed by the city council as the new Glendale City Manager. He served in that capacity for ten years until 2012. At the start of both their tenures in 2002, Scruggs supported Beasley during his DUI trouble. See link: Beasley DPS .   But as time passed, Beasley’s and Scruggs’ relationship became rocky as each vied to become the ultimate power broker in Glendale.  As their working relationship soured over the years she was never able to garner enough council support to have him removed.

Alma Carmicle Courtesy Glendale Star

Alma Carmicle, Courtesy Glendale Star

In 2012 he announced his retirement to city council and left. A year later information would become public that would tarnish his reputation. Beasley ran his administration with an “inner circle” of advisors from within Glendale’s ranks. He apparently was not shy about helping his friends, witness Glendale’s former HR Director Alma Carmicle’s job retention with her $140,000 salary despite her permanent move to

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

Art Lynch, Courtesy Glendale Star

Mississippi and former Director of Finance Art Lynch’s overly generous $930,000 three year compensation as a consultant. Rumors also flew about Beasley’s attempt to secure the purchase of the Coyotes for John Kaites and Jerry Reinsdorf after Jerry Moyes declared the Coyotes bankrupt in 2009. See this link: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/something-smells-in-glendale-did-the-city-steer-the-phoenix-coyotes-franchise-to-an-insider-6430691 . Then there was Beasley’s choice of Andrew Kirkland as chief of police. In less than 5 months after his having been hired he was under investigation and resigned. See this link: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2005/04/04/daily63.html .

Beasley seemed to surround himself with some seemingly ethically challenged employees. Those employees in upper management unafraid of pointing out that “the emperor had no clothes” soon recognized the futility of doing so and left city employ. It didn’t take them long to figure out the landscape as they became marginalized by Beasley and his friends.

Beasley was golden during Glendale’s run-up to become the sports mecca of the state. He was riding high as he was courted by some of the largest cities in the nation to become their city manager. Although he had left Glendale’s employ it wasn’t soon before a publicly released city audit revealed fiscal mismanagement of the Risk Management Trust Fund and the Workmen’s Compensation Trust Fund – all of which occurred on his watch. He was one of the most highly compensated city managers in the state earning a six figure salary as well as a generous benefit package. In May 2012, Beasley formed his own consulting business, Ed Beasley and Associates LLC. Less than a year later by February 2013, he became vice president of Colliers International Government Solutions division.

Ferguson’s hiring of Beasley as its Interim City Manager follows a steady stream of 3 other city managers in quick succession – in the span of 3 months. His contract amount is $84,500. That’s quite a come down and embarrassing. He had applied with other governmental jurisdictions but his services were declined. Ferguson has its own set of problems, a Department of Justice investigation whose findings demand compliance and a rising number of lawsuits. It’s make or break time for Beasley. Ferguson faces so many challenges. If Beasley demonstrates an inability to solve them his career as a city manager anywhere will die. Those are pretty high stakes for a man seeking rehabilitation. His seeming deal making, his reputed willingness to insure the financial futures of his friends and his questionable approval of irregular financial arrangements may or may not serve Ferguson’s interests well. Ferguson, heed these words, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.” (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1). Glendale thought it knew Ed Beasley well.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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The City Council Workshop occurred on April Fools’ Day. Councilmember Alvarez was not physically present but did participate telephonically. Does this signal another medical issue and another long period of absences? The 3 items up for discussion were: the Risk Management Trust Fund and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund; Downtown Parking and the Procurement Process.

Upper management is recommending that the Risk Management Trust Fund and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund be separated. It’s a rearrangement of the deck chairs which in this case does no harm. Many of the proposed changes had been recommended by the citizen Risk Management and Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund Board as a result of the audit and were made just before I retired and while I was still chairperson.

Downtown parking was up next. A survey had been distributed to the downtown merchants about the issue. The response was underwhelming. The conclusion by staff was that the 2 hour parking restriction at some locations is a non-issue and recommended no change to the current policy. Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Hugh, as a minority, expressed continued concern and believe that all 2 hour parking restrictions should be lifted.

The last item was a presentation by Tom Duensing, Executive Director of Finance and Michael Bailey, City Attorney, on the procurement process. There is no question that current policies are fuzzy, at best. It most certainly is time to tighten up policies in this area. However, the recommendations offered by staff still preserve a lot of discretion (read in staff terms, flexibility) for the City Manager. Not good enough. City council needs to be fully informed about every type of procurement which has not been a past practice. Practices that need reformation include the policy of not requiring bids or quotes on purchases less than $5,000. This is a practice that can bleed the city of dollars by a thousand paper cuts. These purchases are cumulative and can add up quickly. At the very least written memorialization of these purchases should be made and provided to council periodically even though no bids or quotes are required. Purchases between $5,000 and $10,000 allow the policy of verbal quotes. There should be no verbal quotes allowed.

There may be reason for an emergency purchase greater than $50,000. Currently the policy requires city manager approval and council confirmation after the fact.  This practice should be revised to inform the council (at the time of occurrence) of the city manager’s approval of such purchases. The city manager currently requires written determination from the materials manager justifying such purchases. The code should be revised to require the city manager to provide council with the determination the city manager receives from the materials manager.

Upper management continues to advocate for the provision allowing the city manager to allow exemptions and exceptions. It is time to end this practice. There should be no exemptions or exceptions for it can, and often does, lead to misinterpretation and misconception.

Under Council Special Items of Interest, Councilmember Alvarez asked for further clarification on city policy regarding irrigation. She also asked for a discussion on diversity. She was as clear as mud as to what about diversity she wanted discussed. The city already has very strong diversity policies. Councilmember Martinez requested that the issue of short term rentals be taken up. Councilmember Sherwood asked that the policy of traffic signals flashing at midnight be revised to begin at 10 PM. Vice Mayor Knaack asked that the city consider electronic voting for city council meetings.

It was another meeting short and sweet. So many questions to be asked and so few actually offered.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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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