Thursday, May 5, 2022

Guest View: Mike Zinkin – “Abide by the policies set forth in the Town Code and Council Policies”

Below is the speech that Mike Zinkin addressed to the Town Council during the April 20th Call to the Audience.
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Mayor and Council,
It is time to take back control of this Town from the Town Manager and abide by the policies set forth in the Town Code and Council Policies.

I have communicated with you on more than one occasion that at the Council meeting of March 4, 2015, the Council passed a motion taking $2.1 million from the General Fund to “kick start the Community Center Fund (CCF).” The motion also stated that the CCF would pay back the General Fund within 10 years with an annual payback of $120,000.

I have noticed that the $120,000 payback was not made during this fiscal year. When I brought this to the attention of you and the Town Manager, the reply I received from the Town Manager was, “A prior Council’s actions cannot bind a current or future Council.”

One councilmember wrote the Town Manager and informed her that her response could not be verified.

Town Code Article 2 Section 4-7 states that the Town will abide by Robert's Rules of Order. Robert's Rules state that a motion can be modified in two ways. A motion to reconsider, or a motion to rescind.

A motion to reconsider must be made no later than the next scheduled meeting. Some of you have attempted to do this regarding another matter, but the Town Manager obstructed your attempt which was in violation of Council Policy #11.

A motion to rescind can be made at any time but requires 5 votes to pass. Unless you move to rescind the 2015 motion, you are obligated to continue the annual $120,000 payback to the General Fund from the CCF.

Additionally, the Town Manager has hired a CIP Director (Capital Improvements Project), which is a position that was not budgeted. Town Policy 6 mandates the Town Manager to come to you for any unbudgeted expenses. The Town Manager tells me that this is a temporary position and is funded by the CIP Fund. Temporary or not, it is unfunded. Using the CIP Fund is also a violation in that CIP funding is from one-time revenues and is to be spent on one-time expenses. An employee is an ongoing expense. This is another violation.

Page 226 of the FY 20/21 adopted budget allocates $105,000 during FY 21/22 for “Council Chamber Audiovisual upgrades.” In a recent communication with the staff, I was informed that the Council Chamber renovation cost $607,125.00 and was paid for with Federal CARES funding. I don’t care where the funding came from, what concerns me is that you did not authorize it. The Town Manager never came forward to request unbudgeted expenses, again in violation of Town Policy.

This must stop. You need to gather in the Town Manager and set some boundaries and reinforce the rules. At this point, you also have enough evidence to terminate her for cause. Do something, as you are ultimately responsible.

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Mike Zinkin and his wife have lived in Oro Valley since 1998. He served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009, the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012, and the Town Council from 2012-2016. He was named a Fellow for the National League of Cities. He was a member of the NLC Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee. He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. Mike has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge.