Posts Tagged ‘Greg Shelko’

10th April
2009
written by Downtown Dudette

I have been informed that the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District Board has taken action today to investigate out sourced project and financial management options and begin a period of transition to propose a fully independently managed district, separate from the City of Tucson.  In former City Manager’s Hein’s  FY10 budget, he had eliminated the position of Downtown Development Director from the budget anticipating changes in Rio Nuevo Management.  Based on the Board’s desires and our difficult financial times, I will also be proposing the elimination of the Downtown Director position effective June 30, 2009.

Greg Shelko has served admirably among difficult times in the Downtown Revitalization process.  He has been a consummate professional in trying to deliver the projects as directed by the Mayor and Council.  We hope that we are able to build upon the successes he helped create as we move forward in transition on project delivery.  I cannot stress enough how important the Downtown Redevelopment project is to the community and to the State of Arizona and thank Greg for his contributions to that end.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 520-791 4204.

Thank you,

Mike (Letcher – not the other one)

26th March
2009
written by Arizona Kid

Authors on this blog have called from Mike Hein’s head. After 3 years on the job the drum beats are sounding.  With one open seat and two freshman incumbents up for re-election it’s going to be an interesting 9 months. During an election year the word ‘scapegoat’ comes to mind. 

Being the City Manager with this, Overwhelming underdogs of a council must make you want to hide under the covers each morning.

The City Manager definitely has a role in each and every one of the decisions that have lead us to the complete mess we are in today. He’s culpable and part of the problem for sure. Hein is the one making $240k+ while the 7 people that collectively tell him what to do make $180k combined! He’s playing a high stakes game but the game board, rules and even the numbers on the dice change from day to day. 

Finanical Down Turn

The city is falling on hard times financially and the pressure is on.  A manager needs to make quick adjustments to get us through the mess. As long as those adjustments don’t affect artists, free rent arrangements to non profits, funding for working poor, Job Path, graffiti classes, Kidco, Department of a(Organize The )Neighborhoods Resources, public access TV,  bus fares, or cuts to any of the 5000 plus employees that are protected by a strong union he’s got full latitude to do what’s right for the community.

What can he cut? Police, road maintenance, garbage services and emergency response staff and equipment.  You know, all the fluffy stuff a city wastes their budget on. 

So if you can’t cut expense you gotta raise money. You raise money in a crazy thing called taxes.  Here’s some of the BUSINESS specific ‘revenue enhancements’ implemented and or being concidered;
Ad Tax
Rental Tax
Impact Fee (ok by not repealing it its still at tax)
Tax to keep your development plan relevant for multiple years
Utility Tax
Water meter hook up tax
Sign Permit Tax
Building Permit Tax
Business Licence Tax
Secondary Property Tax
Increased Landfill Prices
Increased Commercial Waste Fees
Increased Roll Off Fees

The ‘revenue enhancements’ affecting the RESIDENTS of our city;
Increased Utility Tax
Water Fees Increase up to 10% (on top of 8% last year)
Proposed garbage fee increase

Read our previous post HERE

So if you’re the city manger under this council you are officially between a rock and a hard place.  Hein is dealing with so many council sacred cows and pet projects it’s tough to know where to turn.  Hein can’t cut or raise revenues to certain populations. Hein is forced to focus increases on the one special interest not represented on this current council, the business community. 

How does government pay for all the staff, programs, arts groups, low income housing? Oh yeah collecting sales tax from businesses that are brave enough to open in the city of Tucson. Get the picture?

There Are Short Comings….

I agree on management of Rio Nuevo. It’s been botched before Hein came aboard and until the legislature demands new people overseeing the entire project it will be messed up long after he leaves.  Shelko and Barr, aren’t cutting it. Installing Hecker, Lyons and allowing Trasoff’s chief of staff’s wife into management/ oversight positions is highly questionable. Emails from personal accounts to cover tracks…..not good.

MTCVB and TREO need to pull their weight and function in the light of day. Development Services needs a complete cultural shift. 

Hein pissed off council staff and learned how much power they actually had.  Remember THIS near axing from last year?

Where is his plan? All I’m seeing is reaction to the follies that go on around him. How about a 5 year plan? A vison on where we are going?

What’s the deal with the botched search for a new police chief? Do we blame that on Hein?

Why Is Hein Worth Keeping?

What I like about Hein is his early shake up of the Tucson city bureaucracy.  In a climate where you can’t fire  people all you can do is shift them around. By moving around department heads and entrenched fiefdoms Hein took control of the staff. It sets him up to either put the right people in place  and let them do their job or micromanage every aspect of every department he’s responsible for.

He thinks outside the box and isn’t afraid to take a different approach to a problem. 

If he does go what can we expect from the next victim.  Hopefully a potential candidate for the job reads the papers and our blog to get a sense of what they are in for. Tucson could be a career killer.
 

19th March
2009
written by madge

The Star ran a story today about a series of emails that went back and forth between City Manager Mike Hein, Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, Mayor Walkup’s aid, Andrew Greenhill and former City Manager and current representative of the UofA Joel Valdez and two Rio Nuevo beaurocrats; Shelko and Barr.

The jist of the story is an attempt by all or most of the parties involved to spin the crazy spending going on with Rio Nuevo funding.  It’s bad, smells of incompetency at best and cover up on the City’s side at worst.

Walkup denied knowing anything about e-mails his chief of staff wrote, although he received some of the e-mails in the chain.

The mayor said the point is the city has not agreed to foot more of the bill for the science center, adding the e-mails were “preliminary” and “just conversation.”

“I don’t know anything about e-mails,” Walkup said. “E-mails do float back and forth. … An e-mail is an e-mail.”

Anyone want to explain to me why the Star didn’t address the fact that elected officials, representatives of the mayor and our city manger used personal emails to communicate on such a sensitive subject? 

If you answerd  they were concerned that through the Freedom Of Information Act that all public emails systems are open to the public you would be correct.  Hey guys, if your going to avoid the public don’t copy recipients that are using public email addresses.

Real bright folks. I sure hope someone has a tape recorder rolling somewhere.

Read em and weap or read em on the way out of office  – HERE.

3rd March
2009
written by Jupiter Jones

In a mad rush to stave off elimination of the Rio Nuevo pot of money, the Tucson City Council has announced a redirection of the priorities for spending the $80 million they cashed in just before the New Year from bonds they sold, desperately, at a premium. 

Now, rather than funding for more design of museums and for construction of the Convento (known by some as the mud hut), the city will spend what might be the last Rio Nuevo money it ever sees on an arena and convention hotel. 

Do it Right or Don’t Do It at All!

To fans of the much-needed hotel, this is a very late, only-barely-better, better-late-than-never situation.  It would be more persuasive if it weren’t such an obviously desperate maneuver to save the TIF and the Gem Shows at the same time. 

I have yet to meet a fan of the arena as the city has proposed it. 

From casual conversations with real people to reading the on-line comments and blogs, there seem to be two schools of thought on the arena that the city seems to want to build so desperately:  either build it bigger or don’t build it at all.

It’s puzzling that the city would spend $130 million on a new arena that only gives Tucson 2,000 more seats than the crappy “Madhouse on Main”, as the Icecats coach calls the Tucson Arena.  I know, I know;  it’s not just the number of seats that makes the crappy arena uncompetitive.  It’s the ceiling height, the lack of amenities, the lack of decent locker rooms and green rooms, the lack of luxury boxes for Rich Singer to feel important in, and the smell.  

Nonetheless, with a growing city (albeit economically under-performing its population), wouldn’t the 12,000-seat arena be obsolete the day it opens? 

Apparently the UA has made it clear that it is not moving the basketball Wildcats out of McKale Center, but even so, there are opportunities for national-level sporting events that would surely be out of reach of an arena so small.  There are AAU events, NCAA events, Olympic qualifying events. 

Sizing to the Sweet Spot

The city’s argument against a bigger arena is that it can’t afford the cost of construction.  But if the operating revenue of a bigger arena justified the cost, the cost wouldn’t matter, would it? If you were in the private sector, and were trying to decide how big of a plant to build, would you limit yourself to building a smaller factory that could only produce enough output to serve a limited area if you could cost-effectively produce enough to serve a much larger market and make larger profits by building a bigger factory?  Of course not.  You would find the sweet spot. 

There may be multiple equilibrium points here.  It’s conceivable that 12,000 seats is more cost-effective than 15,000 seats.  City officials seem to be making that argument, and they may be right.  The new revenue brought in by a 15,000-seat building may not be enough to justify the additional cost of the 3,000 seats. 

But, perhaps a 17,000-seat arena opens up a whole new set of revenue opportunities not available at 15,000 seats, and an arena of that size, while costing significantly more than $130 million, would pay the city back more handsomely than the Little 12,000-seat Arena That Couldn’t.   Perhaps the additional revenue would be enough to justify the additional cost.  Perhaps not.  I don’t know.  You probably don’t know.  The point is, the city had better know what its options are, and it had better be able to explain why it has selected the option that it has.

 

Explain it to Us-Who Knows, We May Even Support It!

This would be called Leadership.  Understanding the full implications of the various policy options open to you, evaluating the best deal for the current and future needs of the community, and then communicating to the citizens/taxpayers why the optimal option was selected over other alternatives. 

 

Let’s say you’re the mayor of such a city that was considering building an arena.  Go on TV.  Write guest opinions in the newspaper.  Hold a town hall meeting and televise it.  Tell John C. Scott and his listeners about it.  But don’t just do the cheerleading bit.  Explain the logic and the thought process and what the implications of the alternative scenarios were and why you reached the conclusion that this alternative was best for us.

 

What’s the Real Reason We’re Doing This?

Also, while you are at it, tell us what we are getting out of the arena you are building for us.  Minor-league hockey?  Arena football?  More and better concerts?  Monster truck rallies?  NCAA gymnastics championships?  Sweet 16 basketball?  Preventing the tribes from building an arena outside the city limits?  Or perhaps, just more exhibit space for the expanded convention center you also seem hell-bent on building.  Is the arena necessary in order to make the hotel work?  (If that’s the case, then you’d better extend your presentation to tell us how and why the 525-room hotel is necessary and whether it is truly feasible.)  Just tell us, we’re adults.

 

If the threat of losing the Gem Show will truly be abated by building the hotel, then tell us that.  I just want to know.   Use a flow chart if you have to.  And don’t have Greg Shelko, Rich Singer, or Glenn Lyons explain it.  You do it.  You’re the mayor.

 

Whatever you do, don’t spend $130 million of our money just to prove a point.  Or just to save a bunch of diverted state tax money you no longer seem entitled to spend based on your track record to this point.

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