Guest Editorial


Bad Judgment

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hani sabaIt is a scant 3 months until we receive our ballots to recall Trenk, Monachino, Spitzer and Durkin so it’s time to take a walk down memory lane.

In their first act as sitting councilmen in June 2013, the Slate (Trenk, Durkin, and Spitzer & Monachino) fired the town manager in an act of pure vengeance. This bit of bad judgment is costing around $10,000 of taxpayer money each and every month to defend their reckless and irresponsible action. That termination has also generated an additional $3 million in legal liabilities from the federal level. Bad judgment.

The Slate then attempted to hire Trenk’s buddy, Rodney Glassman as Interim Town Manager using the same motion used to fire Mr. Abujbarah – no other candidates, no discussion, no resume, no due diligence, no nothing. Their scam failed only for administrative reasons but provided several days to solicit five very well qualified candidates. Too late. Mr. Glassman had already been introduced around town as the new town manager despite the fact that he was the only candidate with absolutely no experience whatsoever as a town manager or anything similar. The fix was in. By the time of the vote, considerable information surfaced on Mr. Glassman. Among other things, he was a professional student and had absolutely no experience as a town manager or anything related; he was an unemployed lawyer; his singular ‘qualification’ was that he was Trenk’s buddy; it had been established that 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 U.S. Senate; a sitting U.S. Senator publicly opined that Glassman 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”. The Slate hired him anyway. Councilman Durkin proudly pronounced Mr. Glassman “fully qualified”. The Slate then agreed to pay their totally unqualified buddy the same salary as the experienced and competent Mr. Abujbarah. Bad judgment.

The highly educated Mr. Glassman wasted no time in demonstrating that he did not understand budgets by exceeding his own travel budget by 900 percent, his training and entertainment budget by over 300 percent and giving the Cave Creek Court along with lots of taxpayer money to Carefree based on budget numbers that he did not develop and did not understand. However, Glassman did understand perks; his liberal use of gas reimbursement and his town credit card effectively increased his salary by over $20,000 on an annualized basis. Then it got real embarrassing. By July Mr. Glassman and the mayor decided they needed more self promotion so Mr. Glassman prepared a letter for the mayor’s signature and sent it to all Cave Creek residents. It cost some $2500 unbudgeted dollars and it was largely unintelligible. This from a purported lawyer with an extraneous PhD degree. On Trenk’s direction, Mr. Glassman and Mr. Francia started down the road of the “West’s Most Western Town” fiasco which started with a costume party in a town council meeting where they provided a disrespectful and rude welcome to a Scottsdale Councilman and it went downhill from there. That action burned the bridge of Scottsdale’s support to ash and quickly got Cave Creek designated as the “West’s Most Obnoxious Town”. Bad judgment.

We can ignore Mr. Glassman’s antics of shaking down the local bars for free lunches and drinks, his lavish spending of taxpayer money on lunches for everyone in the state who had absolutely nothing to do with Cave Creek but lots to do with his future employment, rarely showing up at the office, etc. and focus on his most important task – hiring his permanent replacement. He spent thousands of dollars on legal fees in secret executive meetings with the town lawyers to devise a secretive and non-inclusive process that ignored the deep pool of experienced local candidates and produced a nominee from Massachusetts. The inept Mr. Glassman could not even hire his replacement on time and his contract was extended. Bad judgment.

Over and above the crushing legal expenses and liabilities that Trenk, Monachino, Durkin and Spitzer incurred, and over and above the tax dollars wasted on the incompetent interim town manager, his assistant, shiny horses, road paving plans, etc., they spent money like water on a host of other unbudgeted and unnecessary pet projects. 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. Bad judgment. Send them packing in March 2015.