It appears Glendale City Manager Brenda Fischer has a vicious temper. Rumors have circulated since she came on board in Glendale but employees have been reluctant to go on record and to share specific incidents. All have been within City Hall – until last week.

A little background first. Robert Heidt is the Glendale Chamber’s new President and CEO. He had been approached by a Chamber member, John and Alice Roach, owners of the White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread Company. The Roachs are Glendale residents. Apparently they have applied for entry to numerous Glendale events only to be turned down repeatedly. Mr. Heidt had been dealing with Glendale’s Communications Department (which runs all City events) for several months in order to obtain clarification on vendor policy and to advocate for the Roachs’ participation.

Darrell Jackson of the Glendale Star has an article about a confrontation Glendale City Manager Brenda Fischer recently and publicly had with Mr. Heidt. Here is the link: . Last week Mr. Heidt was having a pleasant working lunch at the Yard House at Westgate. Ms. Fischer was also there, a few tables away, having lunch with several Glendale employees. At some point Ms. Fischer approached Mr. Heidt’s table and proceeded to publicly berate him over the White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread Company complaint. She was loud enough to be overheard by patrons necessitating a Yard House Assistant Manager’s request “to take it outside.”

Fischer, when asked by Jackson, about the incident conveyed that she was defending “employee integrity and professionalism” which, she believed, had a “negative effect on employees’ morale.” Between you and I, that is so much BS.

If Fischer were really concerned about employee morale she wouldn’t, among other things: 1. Have her reputed, infamous temper tantrums at any time, in City Hall or outside of City Hall; 2. She wouldn’t allow City Manager staff, including herself, and City Attorneys to not be physically present at City Hall on Fridays. They are available by phone and email. I believe that’s called telecommuting. Isn’t that what the previous City Manager Ed Beasley allowed Human Resources Director Alma Carmichle to do? From Mississippi? Wasn’t that a ‘no-no’? No matter the location…it does affect employee morale; 3. She wouldn’t have appointed Julie Frisoni to an Assistant City Manager’s position when Frisoni did not meet the qualifications needed; 4. She would insure that all staff information is distributed to the entire council and not a selected few supporting a staff position and 5. She would resume hosting Quarterly City Staff meetings. Apparently since her hiring she has had one, just one, such meeting with the entire staff.

Mr. Heidt had obvious concerns as a result of that confrontation and sent an email to the Mayor and City Councilmembers, summarizing the incident. As a result, the council will have a special executive session meeting on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3 PM to discuss Fischer’s confrontation with Mr. Heidt. Expect Councilmember Gary Sherwood (and his two clones, Councilmembers Chavira and Aldama) to defend Fischer’s actions. Councilmember Sherwood not only actively advocated for Fischer’s appointment but personally met with her prior to council’s decision. His exclusive meeting with a potential candidate still under consideration may not have been unlawful but the ethics are questionable. With three newbie councilmembers there will not be much in the way of historical memory with knowledge of other, past Fischer tantrums.

Whatever the results, you and I will never know them as executive session discussions and direction must remain private. The most we can hope for is some kind of reprimand inserted into her personnel file. The best outcome would be for a majority of council to call for her resignation but that is wishful thinking.

Since retiring from city council I have had the opportunity to talk to countless city employees, from a wide variety of departments, at different levels of authority within the organization. None are within Fischer’s “inner circle.” To a person they have conveyed that employee morale is worse than at the height of former City Manager Ed Beasley’s tenure. As they often put it, “It’s the same, only worse.” While Ms. Fischer may have put out some financial fires she has most certainly stoked the fire of the lowest employee morale in recent history.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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