The $1,723 letter from the ‘mayor’

From the opening sentence it was immediately evident the poorly written letter was not penned by the mayor
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vincent franciaCAVE CREEK – Cave Creek and Desert Hills water customers received a letter, dated June 27, inserted with their bill this month from the Office of the Mayor, stamped with Mayor Vincent Francia’s signature.

From the opening sentence it was immediately evident the poorly written letter was not penned by the mayor.

Sonoran News has since learned the letter was drafted by Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman and was mailed to 2,241 Cave Creek water customers, 1,453 Desert Hills water customers as well as a separate mailing to 1,296 “registered voters,” which ended up providing some recipients with two copies of the letter.

The letter touts how “fortunate” the town is to have “Rodney working with our excellent town staff and I am confident that we will be seeing some wonderful projects and programs moving forward in the coming months.”

We asked how much this letter, which invited non-residents from Desert Hills but no Carefree water customers to “Office Hours with the Mayor and Vice Mayor” each Thursday morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., cost?

A records request produced a copy of invoice number 767 from the Document House for $382.55 for a rush order for 5,000 copies of the letter from the mayor.

When Francia stated he didn’t write the letter and only made a couple corrections, it explains the second invoice number 768 in the amount of $382.55 as a rush order to “rerun” 5,000 copies of the letter from the mayor.

Apparently Glassman had the letter printed and stamped with Francia’s signature and ready to go to Advanced Info Systems for the folding and inserting into the water bills, which cost the town an additional $44.82 for Cave Creek and $29.06 for Desert Hills.

The mailing to registered voters cost $596.16 in postage and it is presumed they used the town’s envelopes, address labels and staff to prepare those 1,296 letters for mailing, but there were no costs provided for those aspects of the mailing.

And to which select group of registered voters was this mailed? There are approximately 3,500 registered voters in Cave Creek. Was the letter only mailed to those who voted in the March primary or to just the Democrats? The low number could indicate either.

So, the interim town manager used town resources to mail citizens a letter to tout how fortunate the town is to have hired him and spent the town’s money to copy it before getting the mayor’s approval and then spent more money to reprint it after the mayor made corrections.

The closing sentence, “On behalf of the entire Mayor and Council, thank you for your support and allowing us to continue to serve the community,” is puzzling.

While the phrase “entire mayor” is odd in itself, Glassman knows there are four newly elected members on council, which is not exactly continuing service.

We can only wonder how bad the letter must have been before the mayor made his corrections.

The feedback we’ve been receiving from the community includes some of the same observations we made.

For starters, it was obvious the letter wasn’t written by Francia, who is a gifted writer.

Several also questioned the political nature of the letter being inserted into water bills and mailed most likely to only registered Democrats and wondered if other members of council will be afforded the same access to town resources to invite citizens to their own “office hours” or “breakfast with” so constituents may “stop by, say hello, and share your ideas and concerns for Cave Creek’s future.”

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