New Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos: A tribute to “integrity, diversity and transparency”*

Last week the daily reported that the eight-member Phoenix City Council and Mayor Phil Gordon, would be conducting closed-door, executive session, interviews to find a replacement for retiring City Manager Frank Fairbanks. And although lip service is paid to the issue of “transparency,” there was none evident in this exclusive selection process.

In light of past disciplinary actions, council members also stressed the importance of ethics.

“We’ve had some lively debates and I want to share with you that integrity is of the utmost importance from here on forward,” said councilwoman Peggy Neely.

That pesky integrity issue might have accounted for the lack of allowable public scrutiny of the process that would put the ultimate winner in charge of 14,000 city employees and a $3.6 billion annual budget.

Yet in an 8-1 vote, the council appointed 22-year Phoenix employee David Cavazos, 49, described in the newspaper report as a “Hispanic, and the first minority to hold the highest non-elected office in the nation’s fifth-largest city.”

In 2006, David Cavazos, then an acting deputy city manager was suspended for a week without pay after an internal investigation found that city workers spent more than $280,000 in taxpayer money on questionable travel expenses.

But not to worry. City leaders warned Cavazos that any future unethical behavior would not be tolerated.

Councilman Michael Nowakowski, also identified by the daily as Hispanic, defended Cavazos as the most qualified candidate for the job, not downplaying the ethnicity angle. “It’s sending a message out there that we are going to be diverse, not only diverse within the Latino community, but we also have a large African-American, Asian, Native American and LGBT community,” said Nowakowski, who nominated Cavazos. “So it’s diversity, and our management should look like the city of Phoenix.”

Councilman Michael Johnson cast the lone dissenting vote, saying he had serious concerns about Cavazos’ suspension for violating city travel policies and setting a tone that allowed his employees to abuse city funds. Cavazos, then an acting deputy city manager, who at the time served as assistant aviation director was forced to repay the city $911 following the investigation into travel abuses at the city.

The four finalists, all Phoenix deputy city managers, were Cavazos, David Krietor, Rick Naimark and Ed Zuercher. Of course, the closed-door interviews allowed for no public comment.

The manager’s annual pay range is $163,592 to $257,670.

* Absolute and utter sarcasm in view of the fact that diversity trumped integrity and there was zero transparency in the closed door interviews.

11 Responses to New Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos: A tribute to “integrity, diversity and transparency”*

  1. Standing Tall says:

    Sorry, but if this is the best they could come up with after what I heard was a nationwide search, Phoenix is in a world of hurt. “Diversity” is over billed. And, when do we ever hear the diversity of ideas extolled? Is it only the amount of pigment in your skin or who you sleep with that makes you diverse? This is lunacy.

  2. Ajo Joe says:

    It was the only black councilman, Michael Johnson, who cast the lone vote in opposition to Cavazos. So much for the diversity aspect trumping integrity and sound judgment. Good and courageous call on Councilman Johnson’s part. He has earned my respect.

    As to the “Hispanic” Nowakowski, I suspect there might be a tad of Polish in his bloodline. It’s doubtful that Polish heritage translates to a voter base that votes based on ethnicity.

  3. Doc says:

    On KPHO TV5 last nite, Mr. Cavazos, when asked about the “ethics violations” of recent memory, declined to answer, stating that there were people who were anxious to meet him. TWICE.

    Sadly mayor philaberto, & said city council members were ELECTED…as was Mr. Obama…hhhmmmmm

  4. Maggie says:

    We get what we deserve when we vote without paying attention. Although we couldn’t vote for the city manager (Or even SEE what was going on behind thses closed doors) we did have the opportunity to vote for the council and mayor. The turnout is always low in those races and mostly city employees, who benefit from keeping the status quo. How about organizing next time and giving the city races the attention they deserve?

  5. Jay Bird says:

    Here’s the KPHO TV 5 report Doc referred to on rewarding Cavazos’ bad behavior. Listen to his slippery answer. This is amazing!!

    http://www.kpho.com/video/21437626/index.html

  6. ron says:

    This is a surprise. Character or lack thereof is quickly revealed. Any office pools on how long before there is a call for an investigation?

  7. Doc says:

    ron-1st taker on pool: 3 weeks!

    Jay Bird-I had to reel my jaw back in!

    My question is th’ same 1 I keep asking about B-HO: Why haven’t the “representatives” started impeachment proceedings, YET?

  8. Steve says:

    This is what we get when qualifications (and I don’t mean being a decades long government functionary) and integrity take a back seat to political correctness.

  9. Kathy says:

    Nothing new – corruption just keeps ongoing in Phoenix!!

  10. Vince says:

    …..Aided and abetted by the voting mayor, Philly Gordon, who knew all too well of the pricey antics engaged in by Cavazos. At least Councilman Johnson had a backbone and called this out for what it is.

  11. […] addition, the idea of rewarding a censured spendthrift of taxpayer funds with the job of county manager is preposterous, yet Gordon cast his ballot for David Cavazos, […]