The Jake Files

April 12, 2006

East Valley Trib Article: Chandler Manager Bows to Council

Chris Markham has a good summary of Monday's events, including the separation agreement, who voted for it, and the potential for a recall against several councilmembers.  Read it all here.  Excerpt:

Chandler manager bows to council

By Chris Markham, Tribune

April 12, 2006

Despite residents and city employees showing considerable support for Chandler’s city manager, the City Council forced his resignation after a nearly 10-hour job review that stretched past 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“He got a raw deal,” Councilman Bob Caccamo said Tuesday afternoon of the council’s decision to accept the resignation of City Manager Mark Pentz in exchange for the executive’s agreement not to take the city to court.

“It had everything to do with a four-vote, lame-duck majority,” Caccamo said, referring to Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks and council members Matt Orlando, Donna Wallace and Martin Sepulveda, all of whom were critical of Pentz during his review.

The separation agreement entitles Pentz to a severance package that includes 15 months of regular pay with a 4 percent raise and car allowance, 18 months of health insurance premiums and seven months of retirement contributions that in total will cost Chandler nearly $260,000, according to city estimates.

Westbrooks, Orlando, Wallace, Sepulveda and Mayor Boyd Dunn voted to accept the agreement. Dunn, who supported the city manager during his review, said his vote was aimed at “making sure Mark was treated fair.”

 I'm not sure how I feel about a recall at this point.  I'm generally not in favor of recalls on principle – you cast your vote for the candidate you most agree with, then trust they will act responsibly on your behalf based on the commitments they make during their campaign.  If you don't like what they've done, you have the opportunity to vote against them if they choose to run for re-election. 

I have to say I'm pretty upset about the conduct of Sepulveda and Orlando in this sordid affair.  Not only did a good man have his reputation smeared and his career derailed by pettiness, but the City has to bear the substantial costs of his severance agreement (which he DESERVES based on his treatment).  Those costs also include the time and expense of a search for a new manager, the loss of reputation for our fine city (who's going to want that job now?), and the loss of leadership momentum as we move forward with downtown redevelopment, traffic issues, buildout issues, etc.

I'm not certain how to feel about this fledgling recall effort – I could go either way at this point.  But I am outraged at the conduct of the city council.

By the way, did you see Jeff Weninger's outspoken stand in favor of City Manager Mark Pentz, and the prediction on what it would cost to replace him?  I wonder where the other potential candidates stand on the issue.  Email Becky Jackson at and Trinity Donovan at



  1. So, have you had time to watch more of the sham of a meeting? I was so angry I wrote an overly rude email to the Mayor and Council last night:
    Congratulations to Council Members Orlando, Sepulveda, Westbrooks and Orlando for making a complete spectacle of yourselves. Did you hear the audience laughing at your stupid questions? Did you hear the groans at your unfair, ridiculous attacks? Mark Pentz is a brilliant man for exposing you for the incompetent, vindictive fools you are. We all know you fired this man for no reason, and we are the ones who suffer: we lose a manager who was worth more than the four of you combined; we are out a ton of money; and our reputation as a city is shot. Your reputations as Council Members are shot, too, and you should expect recalls and lots of difficulty ever getting elected again. Again, congratulations to you. You’ve really done it this time.
    Bob Caccamo, the stand up guy he is, actually replied. Perhaps it is a form letter, but I appreciated it:
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I greatly appreciate
    your support and share your disappointment with the recent decision to
    terminate Mark Pentz’s contract. He is a fine City Manager and I am well
    pleased with his performance and accomplishments over the last two years.
    It is refreshing to read the positive comments he is receiving from
    residents, City employees and the business community.

    It is unfortunate that Mark Pentz didn’t receive a fair review and it is my
    hope that he will be hired again by the new Council.

    Thank you again for your comments.


    Bob Caccamo
    I replied to him this evening:
    Councilmember Caccamo,
    Thanks to YOU for taking the time to reply to me. Reading it over, I am embarassed at my email–it was after a late night and then a full day of work, and I think I overdid it with the personal attacks.
    Councilmember Caccamo, I am so glad to have you as my representative. You did us proud on Monday; everyone I’ve spoken with about the meeting was impressed with how eloquently you defended Mr. Pentz and shone the light on the real issue of division within the Council (to put it diplomatically). I certainly hope Mr. Pentz can be rehired (I was thinking about this all along), and I look forward to working on a recall for the two incompetents left on the Council, who are too focused on themselves to do what’s right for Chandler.
    Take care,
    I think a recall would be a great idea. Councilmembers Sepulveda and Orlando are destructive forces on our Council and have too much ego and not enough intelligence to do the job correctly.
    Jake, thanks for spending time on this important subject!

    Comment by A.M. — April 13, 2006 @ 12:37 am | Reply

  2. No, A.M, I haven’t watched the rest of the council meeting YET. I was more interested at the time in knowing what the actual outcome was, and who voted which way. We now know that, so I haven’t taken the time to watch it all. Job searching, small business shopping, child rearing, and TV watching have gotten in the way of my blogging responsibilities. But I WILL get around to it, and leave an appropriate post when I do. Thanks for reading.

    Comment by Amazing Jake — April 13, 2006 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  3. […] As I posted earlier, I haven't taken a position on the recall effort.  I'm not the "throw the bums out" type.  I am, however, strongly sympathetic in this case due to the outrageous conduct of Councilmen Sepulveda and Orlando. […]

    Pingback by The Jake Files » Recall Effort to Proceed — April 17, 2006 @ 9:32 am | Reply

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