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 AVONDALE TEEN GETS 2 YEARS FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER, PAGE 3 — the newspaper of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park & Tolleson, AZ (623) 535-8439

50¢ Friday, March 30, 2012


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by Sara Clawson staff writer


Singing contest for women comes to Litchfield Park this weekend — Page 5.

Brian Dalke was ushered in as Goodyear’s new interim city manager on Monday. Dalke had been deputy city manager before the City Council voted unanimously to give him a six-month contract and a 5 percent raise, effective July 1. The contract has the option of renewal at the end of the six-month period. Dalke was also given full authority to make any organizational and programmatic changes necessary to improve efficiency, customer service and cost structure, according to a city- issued press release. Dalke replaces John Fischbach, who resigned March 19. The City Council has cited new direction and leadership as major reasons for seeking a new manager. A nine-point list of goals and

Interim manager directed to make changes

objectives were included in Fischbach’s December contract. Those objectives were called into question, Councilman Gary Gelzer said.


public safety officials remind parents to

keep an eye on chil- dren — Page 10.

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TOO LONG’ As pool season gets under way,

“The measurable objectives were inserted into his contract last year, in December, so council could have a way of evaluating John’s progress because the city has changed over the last six to eight months,” Gelzer said.

have both increased in the last year, he said. “We are spending less money than has been budgeted because of tight fiscal restraints and revenues are exceeding the budget by small, but significant margins, and the trend has been so for the last eight months in a positive direction,” Gelzer said. Fischbach’s ability to harness the

city’s finances during the recession was due in part to freezing or eliminating positions and

View photo by Michael Clawson

DEPUTY CITY MANAGER BRIAN DALKE was named interim city manager following the resignation of John Fischbach March 19. The City Council has given Dalke the authority to make any organizational and program changes necessary to improve efficiency, customer service and cost structure for the city.

The city’s revenue and population

streamlining services, Gelzer said. “We are in a much better

financial situation than we could have been,” he said. But now the City Council wants

new leadership, Gelzer said. “There are pent-up demands in the city for new initiatives and the council has ideas on some of those new initiatives,” Gelzer said. “There are areas of the city that have been neglected. We want to move ahead in some of those key areas and basically, we lost confidence in where we were going ahead. That’s pretty much the bottom line.”

Organizational changes Goodyear hired Dalke in 1994 to be the economic development director. He was promoted in 2004 to the position of deputy city manager.

From June 2007 through April 2008, Dalke held an interim position as city manager after former City Manager Stephen Cleveland retired.

have been given full authority as a manager … there are expectations,” Dalke said. Dalke said he has been instructed

“This time, it is clearly defined. I

During that appointment, Dalke said, his responsibilities were not clearly defined because officials assumed it would not take long for a permanent manager to be hired.

to evaluate various departments. “Some things I’ve been asked to look at generally center around communications — communicating at a corporate level — including social media, the website,” he said. “Very much about economic development, strategic planning and constituent neighborhood services

(See Interim on Page 2) Emails point to forced resignation

by Sara Clawson staff writer

When former Goodyear City Manager John Fischbach announced his resignation March 19, the move was viewed as abrupt. Fischbach had signed a two-year contract with the city in late December and wasn’t scheduled for another review until June. The City Council, with the exception of Councilwoman Sheri Lauritano, who voted against the contract extension, approved the agreement.

executive session to conduct a performance review of Fischbach. The meeting lasted nearly three hours and Fischbach announced his resignation via email to staff and the council less than an hour later, according to emails obtained through a public records request.

His email said he chose to retire, “with mixed feelings.”

On March 19, the City Council held an

the privilege of leading one of the premiere workforces through some very difficult financial times and with everyone’s help we are coming out stronger than ever!” he wrote in the email.

“My feelings are mixed because I have had

Email correspondence between Fischbach and Mayor Georgia Lord suggest he was forced to resign. On March 17, two days before the resignation, Fischbach sent an email to Lord. The letter refers to a meeting the two had the day before in which Lord raised concerns she had. “Georgia, obviously I have been thinking of not much else since your visit to me on Friday [March 16]. I am really shocked and am trying to understand. I can’t recall one incident that rises to this level of concern. I believe I need to know what the allegations against me are so I can respond,” Fischbach wrote.

Fischbach has not returned calls and emails seeking comment.

The letter continues with Fischbach discussing his trust in the “Mayor-Council- Manager relationship,” which is the hierarchy of Goodyear leadership.

(See Emails on Page 2)

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