Monday, October 21, 2019

Minority Rebukes Winfield Over Proposed Liaison Assignment Changes

Pina, Rodman, and Solomon hold sway
The Oro Valley Town Council did not approve a motion to change the council member liaison alignment to the town's volunteer boards at last week's council meeting. The vote was 3-3 vote (Joyce-Ivey absent),

At stake...
One of the boards, the Planning and Zoning Commission has four vacancies to fill in November. The council liaison is responsible for meeting with candidates and recommending people to fill the vacancies. Under Winfield's proposal, the new liaison would be Vice Mayor Barrett.  Council Member Rodman is the currently liaison and will remain such, unless a change is made at a future meeting.

Minority: "Winfield playing politics"
Pina, Rodman and Solomon claimed that Winfield was playing politics regarding the assignments.

First, Winfield's motion would have moved the annual appointment of liaisons from next January to this October, thus allowing Barrett to be responsible for the Planning and Zoning Commission appointments. Second, Winfield did not inform either Rodman or Solomon of his intent to change their liaison assignment.

Winfield claims that he did not do so on advice of Town Attorney Cohen because Winfield did not want to violate open meeting laws. On questioning, Town Attorney Cohen said that Winfield informing another council member of a motion is not an open meeting law violation. Council Member Pina, whose liaison relationships would not have changed under the proposal, said that Winfield had spoken to her of the "no change". When Winfield said he did not recall that conversation, Pina essentially said: "Lets not go there."

Goodwill among council members gone?
Rodman stated that he had had hopes that the council would act in a harmonious manner, given that they had come to an agreement on the "never-ending" golf situation. That agreement came earlier in the month when the council voted to make essentially only minor changes to the town's golf involvement. Any goodwill with the minority the Winfield had gained through that move, a move that fractured his political base, is apparently lost.

Minority Council Members Rebuke Winfield
Minority council members rebuked Winfield for the manner in which he handled this move and the alleged political nature of the move in remarks that accumulated to 16 minutes. We have included a video of these remarks. Not once did Winfield stop them from speaking, even though their criticism of his actions was not the subject of the motion. Winfield's response was that he wanted to do the reassignments now because he had recently retired and now has more time to devote to the Mayor's job.

"I think to sit here and say that it's ok to do this," noted Council Member Pina. "It's not ok."

Issue is likely to be revisited
The minority's victory is likely only temporary. Winfield can move a similar motion at the next meeting. It will likely pass if all members of the Winfield team are at the meeting.