Normally this time of year the City Council is returning from their summer break to slightly cooler weather. This year it’s hot; and that’s not just the weather! A number of city issues that festered in the spring have turned into gaping wounds over the summer.
The first Council meeting of the fall is tonight. On the agenda, several items are notable:
- The “special meeting” before the “regular meeting” will see continued discussion and possible renewal of the contract for City Manager David Richert. It seems a little premature to do this right before a regular agenda that includes discussion of standardization of the pay structure and organization of the city’s management personnel. This item was also delayed by Mayor Jim Lane at the last council meeting before the summer break which seemed to exacerbate citizen concern about the City Manager David Richert’s handling of the “entertainment district” noise issues. The council will likely recess into executive session for much of their discussion of this item.
- The regular agenda includes several “consent items” (which are normally approved as a package, without public discussion or resident comment).
- There are, as usual, several liquor license applications and related items. These include Item 14 which relates to The Mint, which has been previously discussed with regard to the noise issue.
- Item 22 is for the rezone of the rezone of the next phase of the Safari Condominiums (large file) at Scottsdale Road and Camelback. This will give greater height and density under the controversial Downtown Infill Incentive zoning. There has been no extraordinary public benefit gained for the concessions granted, which is contrary to the intent of the DIID.
- Item 29 seeks to indemnify (taxpayers pick up the tab for legal defense) City Manager Richert for miscalculations by city staff of retiree benefits contributions. There has been no explanation as to why this wasn’t fixed when the errors were first discovered. If it goes to court the legal costs could wind up being higher than the cost of just fixing it.
- Item 30 also seeks indemnification for Richert for his staff’s failure to properly secure a supplemental life insurance policy for a Scottsdale police officer in spite of collecting premiums from him. Even disregarding the human side of this story it is difficult to see how this won’t be a big PR problem, as well as a morale problem for city staff.
- Item 34 is an effort to retool the way we structure promotions, pay, and benefit for city staff management personnel.
Here are my “public comment” remarks to the City Council on these issues (Requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin for your browser):
Special Meeting on City Manager contract renewal
You can watch the entire special meeting by streaming video.
Regular Agenda Item 20, Rezoning the Safari Resort site.
Item 29 & 30, Indemnification of the City Manager.
Item 34, Management Compensation (Pay and Benefits) redesign.
The regular meeting is available by streaming video, too.
You can also look at the “marked agenda” displayed alongside the regular meeting video (or open it separately) so you can tell who voted for what.
(All archived videos are available by date).
Here is some mainstream media (Arizona Republic) coverage of the topics that were discussed:
- The Safari (article, editorial, another article).
- Defeat of the zoning text amendments.
- The Nowinski lawsuit against City Manager David Richert.
- Compensation for management staff. Another compensation article.
- And an earlier article about the After School Program for which the City Council eliminated funding earlier this year.
AZR coverage of the demise of the Channel 11 Programming Commission:
Contributor John Washington is a long-time advocate for Scottsdale residents and neighborhoods, and the proud father of a fifth-generation Scottsdale native.