Lipsky resigns over town manager vote

Finance Director Robert Weddigen
Jankowski squeaks through 4-3 split council vote with one-year contract

CAVE CREEK – Call to the Public brought Bill Allen to the podium to advise council Tony Geiger was now chair of the Water Advisory Committee and Betsy Wise was vice chair. He also said there were two or three people who have come forward with interest in serving on the committee that will be brought to council for consideration.

Mayor Vincent Francia stated he and council members received a lot of phone calls about loud music from the rodeo grounds on Saturday night and he wanted to let citizens know the town is working on addressing the problem.

Town Marshall Adam Stein requested approval of a resolution to adopt the five-year Maricopa County Multi-Jurisdictional Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan for the town of Cave Creek.

Stein explained the plan, which is updated every five years, addresses natural hazards such as flooding, wildfire, drought, severe winds and more, which the town has experienced from time to time, resulting in loss of property and/or life, economic hardship, and threats to public health and safety.

The updated plan has been developed after more than one year of review, research and update work by the town in cooperation with the Maricopa County Jurisdictional Planning Team for the reduction of hazard risk to the community.

Councilwoman Susan Clancy

Councilwoman Susan Clancy questioned the reliance on documents that haven’t been updated since 2008.

Councilman Ernie Bunch noted FEMA was mentioned numerous times throughout the document and said when it came time to assist with funding to mitigate risk to property along Cave Creek Wash several years ago, FEMA claimed it no longer had any money.

As he moved to approve the plan, Bunch expressed being leery of counting on the federal government for anything and said if it were just local he’d be happy with it.

Councilman Dick Esser, who seconded the motion, said he agreed with Bunch but not all that severely.

Councilman Mark Lipsky questioned whether council should be concerned over the age of the studies used, as raised by Clancy.

Councilman Steve LaMar said it raised the issue that the town needs to update its studies, but not a reason to vote against the mitigation plan.

Stein advised council the documents used were the most current at the time the review began.

Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution to adopt the plan.

After Francia explained how reconsideration votes work and that there is no discussion or public comment until the item is brought back to council, council voted 6-1, with Bunch dissenting, to reconsider its vote on the rezoning application for Meritage Homes.

Finance Director Robert Weddigen

Finance Director Robert Weddigen explained the four alternative expenditure limitations and said the Home Rule alternative, which the town has operated under since 1999, must be adopted by voters every four years.

He said the Home Rule option is used by 53 of the 79 cities and towns using an alternative.

Weddigen brought the item forward for information only and said the item will come back to council to vote on a resolution to place the item on the ballot for voters to approve.

Councilman Thomas McGuire moved to approve Town Manager Peter Jankowski’s employment agreement for one year with Esser seconding the motion.

McGuire stated, “This has not been an easy issue.”

Francia offered a friendly amendment to reinsert an arbitration clause, which both McGuire and Esser accepted.

Mark Lipsky and Steve LaMar

LaMar questioned the $4,000 raise Jankowski added to the contract.

Jankowski defended it as a lower percentage raise than staff received.

The motion carried by a vote of 4-3 with Clancy, LaMar and Lipsky dissenting.

After the vote, Lipsky stated, “This town manager has proven he is not up to the job and is basically an anchor on the town … Based on this vote, I am resigning my seat,” and said he would give council a couple weeks to find a replacement.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell provided background on the general plan process and was asking council to authorize putting it to a public vote for ratification on Aug. 30.

McGuire, who moved to approve the item, stated the document was done by citizens this time rather than by paid consultants.

Clancy, who sat in on many of the planning commission workshops, said the document was truly out of the hearts of people who care about Cave Creek.

She complimented both the planning commission and staff for their hard work and dedication in revising the general plan and said they did “an amazing job.”

Lipsky concurred and stated it was done by people who “really, really care about the town.”

LaMar called it a “solid document” that speaks for itself.

Esser said he echoed Clancy’s sentiments as council voted unanimously to present the revised plan to voters on Aug. 30 for ratification.