BY LINDA BENTLEY | NOVEMBER 6, 2013
Interim town manager three months and 4,133 miles later
As far as transparency goes, that remains to be seen
CAVE CREEK – After reviewing the town’s first quarter expenditures versus budget report, a few items required further explanation from Finance Director Robert Weddigen.
It appears Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman has already used 167 percent ($2,335.28) of his department’s $1,400 annual budget for fuel during the first three months of the fiscal year.
According to Weddigen, however, the reason for the higher fuel costs is because Glassman opted to use his own vehicle (a Mercedes Benz sports car) rather than the town’s 2007 Dodge Durango designated for the town manager’s use.
That means, instead of just paying for fuel and oil changes for the town manager vehicle, the town is paying Glassman the IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate of $0.565 per mile.
That also means, during his first three months as interim town manager, Glassman has been reimbursed for 4,133 miles, which Weddigen said comports with the log submitted to substantiate the mileage, stating Glassman “goes to a lot of off-site meetings.”
He could just about drive to Washington, D.C. and back with that kind of mileage.
Additionally, the interim town manager’s contract doesn’t have any such provision for reimbursing mileage for opting to use his vehicle rather than the town’s designated vehicle.
Since the town is already paying to maintain and insure the vehicle designated for the town manager’s use, Glassman, who was recently awarded a raise by council, over and above the amount all agreed to when hired, is cashing in on additional perks not provided for in his contract.
It would appear, if Glassman chooses to use his vehicle rather than the town’s designated vehicle, it should be at his expense, not the taxpayers’.
Also during the first quarter, Glassman has used up 40 percent ($1,432) of his department’s $3,500 training and membership reimbursement budget.
Sonoran News made a records request on Monday to determine the training and memberships for which Glassman has been reimbursed.
It is important to note Glassman was hired with three specific tasks: 1) Carry out the duties of town manager as described in Cave Creek Town Code Section 31.25, 2) Oversee the selection of an independent third party for the purpose of conducting an audit of the funds of the town of Cave Creek, with results to presented to council no later than Dec. 1, 2013, and 3) Oversee a process of selecting a new permanent town manager for the town of Cave Creek prior to the expiration of the acting town manager’s interim contract and to direct the town attorneys to prepare an appropriate contract.
Glassman, who was hired in June, waited until late August to begin the process of hiring a permanent town manager.
The selection committee consists of Glassman, Mayor Vincent Francia, Vice Mayor Adam Trenk and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
Glassman, like Smith, is not a Cave Creek resident and has no vested interest in the town.
Glassman has not yet engaged a third-party to conduct an audit, so there will not be any such presentation to town council by Dec. 1.
A Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting was presented to the town’s finance department for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2012, which was conducted under former Town Manager Usama Abujbarah’s supervision.
The new council, including the slate of four who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and transparency, approved the budget completed under Abujbarah’s supervision, terminated Abujbarah in a manner devised by Trenk that could cost the town over $3 million plus legal fees, gave the interim town manager a raise after agreeing to a contracted amount for less, and is allowing Glassman the perk of being able to be reimbursed for mileage for his own vehicle to travel extensively away from town hall.
As far as transparency goes, that remains to be seen. Sonoran News made a records request in July with a few follow-up reminders and we’re still waiting.
A new online request for public records process was just introduced on Monday. It’s simple, seems to work smoothly and provides automated confirmations.
Time will tell whether or not it will produce the requested records.