Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Pina, Rodman and Solomon Want Police Chief Selection To Be Public Spectacle

Council members Pina, Rodman and Solomon ("minority members") want the discussion and selection of the new Oro Valley Police Chief a “public spectacle.” We base this conclusion on our analysis of the comments of the minority members of council as stated in council meetings.

The last “public spectacle”...
...was endless discussion of what to do about the 45, now 36 holes of town municipal golf. The discussion was dominated by golf course members, their families and residents who lived along the golf courses. They came to every meeting. Wore green shirts. They spoke endlessly at every meeting. It was a successful effort on their part, as the council voted to retain 36 holes of golf and made a commitment to invest in it in the future.

The objective is to put pressure on the council majority and to drive a recall effort
The objective of the minority members is two fold: First, to drive signups for a current recall effort; an effort, we suspect, that has no momentum and far less than 3,600 plus required signatures for a recall election. Second, to force council to pick an internal candidate.

Effort 1: Make survey results public
Minority council members Pina, Rodman and Solomon insisted that the results of an online survey and focus group session on police chief desired characteristics be made public. Both of these were conducted by Novak Consulting Group, the firm that is conducting the external search. Some claim that the survey results show overwhelming support for an internal candidate. They do not. The results were made public in December. LOVE wrote about the online survey results.

Effort 2: Make Council Police Chief selection discussions open to the public
The minority members in December began their pursuit of making the  discussion of who to hire as chief an open meeting discussion. They argue that this would make the decision "transparent;" and that, somehow, this is a good thing. They argue this after they participated in the 2017 Executive Session selection of town manager Mary Jacobs, a selection that was based on a national search.

Arizona statute and privacy issues block their effort
The Arizona statute recognizes that personnel matters should not become public displays. There are seven executive session "authorized topics" prescribed by Arizona Statute (link, page 3). The first of these is "Personnel."These are private matters to the individual who is being considered for the position of Chief. Candidate privacy "trumps" making these discussions public

Historically, Oro Valley has applied the statute...All personnel matters are considered in executive session.
  • In 2016. Chief Sharp was appointed as interim council member in Executive Session. There was no public discussion of his selection.
  • In May of 2017, Town Manager Mary Jacobs was selected as town manager in Executive Session. Her selection was the result of a nationwide search.  There was no public discussion of her or of other candidates. 
In 2017, Pina, Rodman and Solomon approved a national search and executive session hiring of a new town manager. Now, they argue for just the opposite when it comes to hiring a police chief. Why? Because it's all about politics to them; it's not about what is best for the community.