The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Bartlett Bunker 6-13-15

A Tale of Two Bureaucracies
By Guy Phillips 
                                          
Once upon a time a city known simply as Scottsdale and a school district with the anachronism “SUSD” teamed up to form a new union called “Manipulating Public Funds, or MPF. The goal of MPF is to allow SUSD to acquire prime downtown taxpayer-owned property for free. 

The method is ingenious! First, Scottsdale must put up the developed land for sale so SUSD can make an offer on the property. They do this by bringing it to the council under the guise of property that the city doesn't need and thereby considered excess property that we can sell and use to help balance the budget. The council agrees 7/0. (Yes, I fell for it.) 

Next, SUSD makes an offer which is less than the city appraisal. In this case, $2,022,000.00. 

I email Dan Worth, our public works director and Fritz Behring, city manager, to ask if this is the property swap that was rumored back when Jennifer Peterson was running for city council during the time of the infamous Rally at McCormick Park with Council members Korte and Milhaven and the Saguaro High School band. Mr Worth assured me there is no swap and it is just coincidence. 

Of course, SUSD has to come up with the money. But how? Scottsdale once again jumps in and proposes they buy the property adjacent to Apache elementary school, currently a grass park owned by SUSD. But why should the city buy the park? They already have an IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) to maintain the park. So here's the genius: Tell the Council that Scottsdale needs to buy this property in order to create a retention basin to prevent future flooding in the neighborhood. This ruse is put into the council consent agenda to purchase the land from SUSD for........wait for it………$2,022,000.00! 

But there's a hitch in the giddyup! Councilman Phillips pulls it from the consent agenda and asks the staff why we have to purchase this property since we already have an IGA with SUSD to maintain the park and if we want to make the park into a retention basin we can anyway without SUSD's permission since it's a public issue and it would still remain a park maintained by Scottsdale and owned by SUSD. 

Worried that SUSD may get stuck with the city property and not sell the park property to pay for it, SUSD pulls the sale from the agenda until the following council meeting. At that meeting, council votes FIRST to approve the purchase of the park land from SUSD. The very next item on the agenda is for council to approve the sale of the city property to SUSD. Both votes are 6/1. (Fool me once….)

One can only conclude that the new MFP group celebrated afterward at the nearest bar for successfully hookwinking the public and city council into giving prime downtown property to SUSD for free. 

You have to admit, it's genius! Kudos to staff for figuring out a way for certain individuals to repay each other for past or future favors. My only hope is the current audit of Dr. Peterson's budget will expose the guilty parties on both sides so these shenanigans don't continue. 

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