Was He About to be Fired? Fischbach Resignation eMail Was Drafted and Sent Minutes After His Performance/Contract Special Meeting Review


Monday night, March 19, 2012 at 21:49:33 (around 9 pm) GY City Manager John Fischbach submitted his resignation with an email to all city employees.

That same night, a Special Council Meeting took place following the regularly scheduled 5 pm Council Work Session.  The Work Session took 54 minutes according to the city web site meaning that with a 5 pm start, and a break in between of some minutes, the Special Council Meeting would have started sometime AFTER 6 pm Monday night. The web site does not yet show how long the Special Meeting took but previous executive session special meetings have taken from about 30 until 60 minutes. The AZ Republic is reporting that GY told them the Special Meeting lasted 3 hours.

That would put the end of the special meeting sometime around or just before 9 pm.

Topic of the Special Meeting Monday night?  Here you go;

A. Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03(A)(1) & (3) the City Council will meet for discussion or consultation of employment, assignment, appointment, promotion, demotion, dismissal, salaries, disciplining or resignation of public officer, appointee or employee of any public body re: City Manager’s performance and for consultation with the City Attorney for legal advice, discussion and consultation related to City Manager’s contract.

Here is a link to it; CM Performance Spec Meeting

Shortly thereafter, Fischbach resigned, retired.

Does anyone believe GY city council spent three hours trying to convince Fischbach to stay?

Another curious thing is that Fischbach only gave two weeks notice of his resignation. He was the equivalent of the CEO of the city.  The city is a $60 million per year enterprise, not large by business standards but still a reasonable amount of money. When was the last time you heard of a CEO of any size company leaving with only two weeks notice when it was not under duress? And then he went on vacation!

I can only speculate, here until I get more information, but it appears that the previous two closed special meetings in Goodyear were to discuss the many lawsuits against the city. ($50 million)  Could there have been some disagreement in the handling of these items going forward?

I’ve submitted a records request for the minutes of the Monday night Special Meeting but I don’t expect to get much.  Even if I get anything it will probably be highly redacted.

Don’t residents have a right to know if their city manager was fired or if there was some dispute between he and the city council? Don’t taxpayers have a right to know if there was a dispute and what the dispute may have been about?

If you think so, the email addresses of all GY city council members are listed under the top left hand heading on this page.

I’ve emailed a copy of this post to all city council members and acting Info Officer Paula Ilardo for comment.

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9 Responses

  1. Executive session is not subject to public record as it is between the council and the City Attorney…

  2. Yeah, and that is certainly a conflict of interest when the “city attorney” represents the city and the council and is present in such meetings. They SHOULD be represented by independent counsel. Howard… I think you hit the nail on the head, and he sat and thought “if I time it right and “retire” or “resign”, my pension remains intact”. Yeah, dugh, what do they think ~ we all have an “L” on our forehead.?

  3. Head of thee city’s Public Works department, Charles McDowell, has also resigned, effective at the end of this month. While it is probably unrelated to Fischbach’s departure, it is still disturbing. Turnover at these levels sap confidence in how the city is being run.

  4. Hmmm. That would be 2 heads of public works that have left, I mean “resigned”, under Fischbach’s leadership…

  5. It is called privileged conversations. Same as if you had a conversation with your attorney.

  6. And the City Attorney is hired by the City Council…not by the City Manager. So yes, the City Attorney is their counsel in any matter.

  7. My point is he counsels both the City Council and Mayor as well as city staff… clearly a conflict of interest. Council & Mayor is there as a check and balance and to represent the people. City staff is there to do the work. He has no business knowing both sides. Would you want to hire the same attorney as me if we were in litigation?? The law won’t allow it. It’s called a CONFLICT OF INTEREST… period.

  8. Keep in mind the City’s interests and the interest of the City employee are not always the same. The City Attorney is held accountable by the council and under contract, just like the City Manager.

    • I’ll have to agree to disagree with you having been on both sides as an employee of the city and a citizen I have seen it first hand…

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