BY BOB WILLIAMS | FEBRUARY 5, 2014
The Trenk, Durkin, Monachino and Spitzer slate lied to get elected, but it worked and if it wasn’t Cave Creek, I would say what else is new. But Cave Creek has had a reasonably good history of honest and dedicated citizens running for office and doing their best for the town.
Unfortunately, that all changed with this slate. They lied to get elected and their lies are now exposed to the light of day – or maybe I should say – transparent. Let’s save, for the time being, all of their outrageous lies about resort development, property taxes, open space, economic development, transparency, etc. and look at their signature issue – the town’s financial condition.
Remember their shrill cries – the town was broke, buried in debt it could not pay, had secret financial accounts, did not have the financial reserve it claimed ($3 million or so), had a dishonest council and dishonest town manager hiding their illegal transactions and financial misconduct, the budget was too large and bloated, and on and on and on. We need a forensic audit, they said, although it was clear none of them had a clue what a forensic audit was. They are walking proof that if you throw enough nasty stuff against the wall and enough of it sticks, you can get elected. Here is the reality.
In June, they passed, unchanged, the “too large and bloated” 2013/2014 budget given to them by the “dishonest and corrupt” council they lied about to defeat and the “dishonest and corrupt” town manager they fired. Their supposed financial guru, Mr. Monachino, anointed it as a “fair way to spend taxpayer money.” That act alone was a voluntary repudiation on their part of the campaign accusations that got them elected and they did it without shame as one of their first actions in office.
In late November, the town received its routine annual independent audit known as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which was a ‘clean opinion’ in audit speak which means no significant deficiencies, material weaknesses or incidents of noncompliance. It went on to address the mandatory and boring details required of such an audit and they were all just as clean. Audit results don’t get any better than that. Spitzer, who clearly has no shame at all, didn’t bat an eye moving approval nor did the rest of the slate in approving an audit that again proved everything they said to get elected were lies. Understand the slate had nothing to do with that outstanding result – it was all the previous “dishonest” council, “dishonest” town manager they fired and the competent finance director they hired and it was done coming out of the most severe economic downturn in recent history. I repeat, audit results don’t get any better than that and this disingenuous slate had absolutely nothing to do with those outstanding results.
Right on the heels of that CAFR report, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) upgraded the town’s credit rating from A to AA. S&P confirmed and cited many of the same factors the audit did, such as strong financial performance, excellent management (by the same ‘dishonest’ council and town manager), manageable “low burden” debt and so forth. As with the CAFR, this slate had absolutely nothing to do with the strong performance and credit upgrade cited by S&P.
Nonetheless, slate member Monachino, who opposed Walmart and purports to be a financial guru, demonstrated he has no shame at all by being quoted as saying that S&P report “is testament to the fact Cave Creek is now moving in a good direction.” Reg, Cave Creek was moving in the right direction long before you and your slate lied about it and that is the only reason for the credit rating upgrade. The Walmart store you so vigorously opposed was a key factor behind the upgrade so try not to screw it up. In fact, the S&P report noted that the recent turnover in power has not (yet) had an adverse financial impact (the ‘yet’ was not stated).
In their first six months, this dishonest slate has been buried in good news created by the sound policies, honesty and political courage of their predecessors as well as the broad economic recovery and they have campaigned mightily to take all the credit for themselves.
What has this slate really done? They took over a $7 million (not $3 million) reserve and are spending it as fast as they can on self promotion and other nonessential items not in the budget they are ignoring and paying for them by fund transfers from essential programs and reserves. In a recent council meeting it was noted they have spent over $200,000 taxpayer dollars in just the past six months on their own promotion and frivolous items while dedicated volunteers have struggled to raise $105,000 in donations and events in the past four years to pay for open space and trail maintenance which are fundamental to the allure of Cave Creek. That is so irresponsible and sad. And the $200,000 above does not include the tens of thousands wasted by the slate on their very own Mr. Glassman and his assistant and the hundreds of thousands wasted defending the lawsuits they caused.
I don’t know how these guys live with themselves.
They are disgusting.