At the December 2 Oro Valley Town Council Meeting, the Majority-4 refused the opportunity to heal the community when it decided 4-2 to not reconsider its "rebuke" of Council Member Mike Zinkin. LOVE reported on the initial events last week.
In response, Zinkin replied with a several page letter to Hiremath where Zinkin rebuts the foolishness of this "rebuke" of a good-natured joke he made at council.
Zinkin's letter was printed in the Arizona Independent last Friday.
Rather than simply repeat Zinkin's letter, we thought we would prepare a...
LOVE open letter to Mayor Hiremath and his fellow council majority
Dear Mayor Hiremath,
We do not acknowledge that the jokes that Council Member Zinkin made at the October 21 council meeting created a hostile work environment for town employee Bayer Vella. In fact, we think that his complaint on such was childish and frivolous.
Zinkin's remarks were simply a good-natured joke that you laughed at. They followed a joke that Council Member Hornat had made about Zinkin's hair turning gray and him going bald. It was a lighter moment meant to be a complement to the fact the the town has spent several years developing the general plan revision.
You laughed at the joke.
Then you went out of the way to try to punish Zinkin for it. It seems, Mr. Mayor, that you never miss an opportunity to disenfranchise the thousands of Oro Valley residents who believe that Council Member Zinkin is doing the right job.
The town’s investigation of this matter support our conclusion as does legal precedent. No reasonable person would have deemed Zinkin's remarks offensive. In addition, public officials can not be held liable for remarks made in the course of their work (“Legislative Immunity”)
We do not think that Zinkin should apologize for his remarks
Zinkin did nothing wrong. The council has not authority to require him to do such.
Regarding "in building travel" restrictions you wish to put on Zinkin based on town policy Policy 2, we hold you and all council members to this standard, as required by this Policy 2. That policy requires that all council members, including the Mayor, work through the Town Manager in communications to town staff. Zinkin should not be the only council person accountable for this “Policy 2." Even the editor of the local advertising circular, the town's media choice, agrees with this.
We have a significant suggestion.
We suggest that Town Manager Caton and Bayer Vella, the employee who made the ridiculous complaint about the joke, receive training in what a hostile work environment is. Their bringing this complaint to council was capricious and without merit. It was and is a waste of town resources.
We would like you to "live and let live."
Much of your letter to Zinkin brings up things that happened long ago. They were discussed. They were investigated. The town even wasted taxpayer money commissioning a report on them. They are long dead. For you you to bring them up in your letter once again is merely your way of impugning Zinkin's integrity.
Mayor Hiremath, you, yourself live in a "glass house." You are not qualified to judge others. Don't get us started.
Message received, Mr. Mayor
51.5% of the people in Oro Valley voted for you in the recall election. 48.5% didn't.
By refusing, in less than two minutes, this opportunity to remove this non legal "critique" on Zinkin you once again affirmed what we already knew: You don't care what 48.5% of the residents of Oro Valley think.
We guess that Oro Valley won't be healing anytime soon!
The Readers of LOVE