BY BOB WILLIAMS | JANUARY 15, 2014
You can’t fix bad judgment (or stupidity)
Lest you forget, let’s take a quick walk through the last 6 months of 2013 and remember that this is reality. You just can’t make this stuff up.
In their first act as sitting councilmen in June, Trenk, Durkin, Spitzer and Monachino tried the slimiest of tricks by trying to hire Trenk’s buddy, Rodney Glassman as interim town manager with the same motion used to fire Mr. Abujbarah – no other candidates, no discussion, no resume, no due diligence, no nothing. That appalling example of bad judgment was nothing compared to what was about to come.
Their scam failed only for administrative reasons but provided a horrified staff a week or two to round up some very well qualified candidates. But the fix was in. Mr. Glassman had already been introduced around town as the new town manager despite the fact he was the only candidate with absolutely no experience whatsoever as a town manager or anything similar.
By the time of the vote, lots of information surfaced on Mr. Glassman, such as:
He was a professional student and had absolutely no experience as a town manager or anything related.
His singular ‘qualification’ was that he was Trenk’s buddy.
It had been established he plagiarized a portion of his PhD dissertation.
He was an enthusiastic staffer for U.S. Democrat Representative Raul ‘Boycott Arizona’ Grijalva.
He was an unsuccessful democrat candidate for the US Senate.
A sitting U.S. Senator opined he did not possess the integrity to hold public office.
The Phoenix New Times noted that in his campaign for senate, he was “out of control in the worst possible way” and “he was needlessly rude to staffers and volunteers alike, and described him throwing temper tantrums and yelling at stunned campaign workers.” “They depicted Glassman as spoiled rich kid with a frat boy sense of humor”.
Not to be deterred, the slate hired him anyway.
The befuddled Durkin, who proudly claimed he did his own due diligence, pronounced Mr. Glassman “fully qualified.” Durkin’s due diligence obviously never got past a search for open Class 1 Felony warrants. Durkin also didn’t bother with 14 years of superb performance evaluations when he had a world class epiphany and announced that he found Mr. Abujbarah guilty of “14 years of bad behavior.”
Then these four agreed to pay their totally unqualified buddy the same salary as the experienced and competent Mr. Abujbarah. Why should they care? It wasn’t their money.
The highly educated Mr. Glassman wasted no time in demonstrating he did not understand budgets, by busting his travel budget by 900 percent, his training and entertainment budget by 300 percent and giving your Cave Creek Court along with lots of your money to Carefree based on budget numbers he did not develop and did not understand. He did understand perks; his liberal use of gas reimbursement and his town credit card effectively increased his salary by a cool $20,000 or so, on an annualized basis.
By July Mr. Glassman and the mayor decided they needed some self promotion in a hurry, so Mr. Glassman prepared a largely unintelligible letter for the mayor’s signature that cost some $2,500 unbudgeted dollars and sent it to all Cave Creek residents. They have since produced it as the amusing full color Cave Creek Coyote shamelessly promoting the mayor, Mr. Glassman and the council slate.
Then on to the “West’s Most Western Town” fiasco which started in a town council meeting where they treated a Scottsdale Councilman to a disrespectful and rude welcome to Cave Creek and it went way downhill from there. We better hope we never need Scottsdale’s support, because that bridge has been burned to ash. Appalled observers quickly designated Cave Creek as the “West’s Most Obnoxious Town.”
Mr. Glassman went begging, cajoling and threatening the big box bar owners to comp meals and drinks for the big shots – Trenk, the mayor, himself and any guests they wanted to impress. Evidently, not all of them had an unlimited town credit card like Glassman.
During this entire time, it was noted Mr. Glassman was seldom in the office, ignored the staff, managed nothing and never told anyone where he spent his time although his Cave Creek credit card showed he was a busy fellow wining and dining lots of folks from Tempe to Tucson who had nothing to do with Cave Creek – probably trying to line up another job, compliments of the Cave Creek taxpayers.
In the fall, a public survey was published showing Trenk and Mr. Glassman at the bottom of the competence and public trust scale; for that grade of F (-), this 6 month incompetent temporary employee was given a $10,000 dollar raise and permission to hire an unbudgeted $9,000 public outreach director. To date, staff continues its unsuccessful search for any possible sign of actual ‘outreach’ accomplishments by Mr. Glassman and his $9,000 assistant.
Perhaps Mr. Glassman’s most important task was to hire a permanent replacement town manager. He spent thousands on legal fees hiding in executive meetings with the town lawyers to devise the most secretive and inept process possible. Let’s not forget that because the inept Mr. Glassman could not even hire his replacement on time, his contract was extended.
Mr. Glassman’s signature achievement was the ASU Management Study he commissioned, the results of which were made public in December. To this day the basis of the study is uncertain, at best, as are the results as no one has yet managed to attach any relevance whatsoever to them. The study did note, however, that Mr. Glassman successfully ignored, intimidated and alienated the very professional town staff but that was old ‘news’ by then.
The list goes on. Six months of bad judgment compounded by more bad judgment. You could not write a more bizarre scenario. Sadly, their contributions to the things Cave Creek really needs and cares about, like open space acquisition, trails and trail maintenance, sustainable economical development and honest transparent government are zero. Be honest; in any meritocracy, Mr. Glassman would be parking cars. You can’t fix bad judgment but you now have the opportunity to send his four judgmentally challenged supporters down the road with him. Happy New Year!