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Vice Mayor usurping powers of town manager

Vice Mayor Adam Trenk has been overstepping his bounds by going directly to staff instead of the town manager to make changes to town ordinances
Vice Mayor Adam Trenk has been overstepping his bounds by going directly to staff instead of the town manager to make changes to town ordinances
Linda Bentley

CAVE CREEK – While it has become apparent Vice Mayor Adam Trenk has been acting more like mayor than Mayor Vincent Francia, he seems to be stepping on the toes of Town Manager Peter Jankowski as well.

During the last Planning Commission meeting, Planning Director Ian Cordwell made it clear the two text amendments to the zoning ordinance being brought forward were at the request of Trenk.

During the last council meeting, Building Official Mike Baxley stated “a member of council” had requested the changes he was bringing forward.

During discussion, Trenk admitted he was the member of council who asked Baxley to make those changes.

Trenk may want to review the town code, specifically Chapter 31: Town Officers §31.25 (J), which states: “Orders and directions. The Town Council shall deal with the administrative services of the town only through the Town Manager, except for the purpose of inquiry, and neither the Town Council nor any Members thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the Town Manager.”

Perhaps Jankowski should review the Cave Creek Town Code as well so as not to have his authority usurped by Trenk.

Cave Creek has a Council-Manager form of government, whereas the city council makes policy, sets the budget, and performs legislative functions, such as passing ordinances and resolutions, while appointing a professional town manager to carry out the town’s day-to-day operations.

According to the National League of Cities, this is the most common form of municipal government, growing to 55 percent by 2006.

Carefree, on the other hand, has a Mayor-Council form of government, whereas the mayor has significant administrative and budgetary authority, while the council maintains legislative authority.

Often a professional manager, or town administrator, is appointed with limited administrative authority.

This is the second most popular form of municipal government, occurring in 34 percent of cities surveyed by the International City/County Management Association, and is found mostly in older larger cities or very small cities and towns.

Cave Creek’s town code is rather specific as to the powers of the mayor, council and town manager.

When elected officials refuse to abide by the rules under which they were elected, the Arizona Constitution provides for recall of those elected officials.

Town managers are also vulnerable as they are subject to termination.

One can only wonder if Jankowski is allowing Trenk to overstep his bounds so as not to end up like former Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, who was terminated by Trenk’s vendetta driven-motion that has subjected the town to a lawsuit and $3 million in potential liability.