BY LINDA BENTLEY | JUNE 5, 2013
Newly seated council elects Trenk as vice mayor
Wendt asked council to give the man who has been the town manager for 17 years a chance
CAVE CREEK – During Monday night’s council meeting at which the newly seated council was sworn in, Mayor Vincent Francia announced two women had to be rescued in Spur Cross that day and asked people to exercise caution during the summer months.
Francia also announced there would be a special meeting of council on Monday, June 10.
Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek administered the oath of office for Mayor Vincent Francia and council members Ernie Bunch, Mike Durkin, Thomas McGuire, Reg Monachino, Charles Spitzer and Adam Trenk.
Call to the Public brought Carole Perry to the podium to thank each member of council for their willingness to serve for no pay.
However, she also stated citizens won’t stand by to watch them throw out the good people and the work of those who preceded them.
She chastised the new members of council for spending the last six months maligning people.
Former Councilman Jim Bruce stated it was hard to follow Perry but he was there in hopes of convincing the new council they need to live up to their campaign promise of protecting and preserving.
He said a manufacturing plant and RV park are not protecting and preserving.
Bruce stated he did not always agree with Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, but said “He never did anything that was not in the best interest of Cave Creek.”
Pointing out how the new members of council claimed to want transparency, Bruce said hiring a private investigator to request public records is not transparency.
As far as financial responsibility goes, Bruce said the town would have to have to hire two, three, four or more employees to achieve what they’re suggesting and stated the candidates spent more money to get elected.
Bruce wished them all good luck and said, “We’ll be looking in from time to time.”
Gilbert Lopez said he was on town council in 1999 when the town manager was hired and stated, “I was a very strong supporter of him.”
Lopez said the town manager had developed a good rapport with some members of the community but not with others.
“How did a $3 million water company become a $19 million purchase?” asked Lopez, stating the water company was offered for purchase to the town for $10 million.
Kerry Smith said, “This is a time for a fresh start,” as he expressed his confidence in the new council and thanked them.
Buffalo Chip owner Larry Wendt said he’s heard a couple rumors and hoped they weren’t true.
First, he said he heard the town is considering looking at the noise ordinance again.
Wendt said no one was going to come to council and say they want to make more noise.
He stated, “We have some of the most stringent noise control laws,” and asked the town to enforce the ordinance in place, adding, “We don’t want more regulations.”
Wendt said the second rumor he’s heard was council was planning to vote Abujbarah out as town manager.
Despite high water bills, sewer assessment fees, sales tax rates and the fact he and Abujbarah are political opposites, Wendt said he supports this council 100 percent and urged them to sit down and talk to him.
Wendt said the town has a town manager form of government that operates under the direction of council.
He said, “You give Usama the direction you want,” and then if he doesn’t perform accordingly they could make a decision.
Wendt asked council to give the man who has been the town manager for 17 years a chance.
Gerald Freeman said he supported the entire council.
Grace Meeth recited some quotes and seemed to say, according to the League of Cities and Towns, there is no such thing as a town manager form of government except in Cave Creek.
Terry Smith said he was there that evening for the same reason as everyone else who packed the council chambers, “Because I love this little town.”
He too said he’d heard rumors about council wanting to get rid of some of town staff and stated, “I hope the rumors are not true.”
Smith said he would like to see council work with the town manager and touted Abujbarah for helping facilitate the agreement with the state land department for open space and for bringing the town through bad financial times looking better than just about any city or town in the state.
“I hope people put their personal feelings aside,” said Smith who asked that they “preserve the character of our town.”
Lawrence Warfield stated, “I thought today was about you guys,” as he congratulated them all for dedicating three-and-a-half years of their time to serve.
Warfield said he is a licensed CPA and would be happy to offer his services to the town as a volunteer.
He said he was also a bankruptcy trustee and hoped they would never need those services.
But rather than bringing up the town manager and other issues, Warfield reiterated, “Today is about you.”
Former Councilman Steve LaMar said he wasn’t present for last week’s meeting and thought he’d be thanked for his 27 years of service.
He questioned some of the collaborated actions of the newly seated council members, including the fact they discussed matters amongst themselves that will be coming before council and said it brought up some legal issues.
LaMar said, “Campaigning is over. It’s time for governance. I’m willing to give you all the benefit of the doubt,” and asked them to take their positions seriously.
He said, “It’s time to think about the town now.”
As he left the podium, LaMar announced a new website: fortheloveofcavecreek.com.
Following Call to the Public, council unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included moving the Monday, June 17, 2013 regular council meeting to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.
The only general agenda item was the nomination and election of a council member to serve as vice mayor for a two-year term.
McGuire nominated Bunch, followed by Durkin nominating Trenk.
After the vote for Bunch failed by a vote of 3-4 with the four newly elected council members dissenting, Trenk was elected unanimously.