Zinkin sets bad precedent - The Explorer: Northwest Chatter

Zinkin sets bad precedent

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Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:00 am

I have to admit that when I first heard about Councilman Mike Zinkin filing a lawsuit against Don Cox and those Oro Valley residents trying to recall him, I thought it was a rumor. After all, it seemed a little ridiculous.

However, the rumors are in fact true. Councilman Zinkin filed a lawsuit against Cox and Kevin Jones after their efforts to get him recalled failed.

Zinkin faced a recall for what his opponents, including Mayor Satish Hiremath, called inappropriate behavior. Accusations came out that Zinkin allegedly made inappropriate comments to two female employees. Besides the fact that Zinkin himself apologized for making the remarks, a third-party investigation revealed the allegations were likely true. 

While the recall attempt failed, the town has had to amend personnel policies to prevent this behavior from a councilman or an employee in the future. When policies are being changed because of your behavior, reflection is a given, retaliation is childish.

How would Zinkin feel if the two female employees felt so emotionally distraught and damaged that they filed lawsuits against the town? Would Zinkin call the reaction ridiculous? Probably.

Since the recall efforts failed, I would think for Zinkin that’s enough. However, I guess its not. The emotional stress and damage to his credibility apparently warrants the lawsuit.

Are we really in a time where an elected official doesn’t realize his every move, especially when dealing with the town employees he is elected to represent, is under constant review and scrutiny? The taxpayers, which include Cox and Jones, have every right to question your behavior. 

If they believe they are justified, taxpayers have every right to attempt a recall. There are measures put in place to protect the elected official – those measures being a required number of signatures on a ballot. A recall in a non-election year doesn’t take place unless enough people agree.

For Zinkin, not enough people agreed that his behavior warranted a recall. I agreed with him at the time. He may have crossed a line, but I wasn’t completely convinced a recall was needed.

However, suing residents for taking advantage of the rights they are allotted as taxpayers makes me question his ability to serve the entire community, instead of just the interests of some.

Part of the lawsuit brings up comments made on a local citizen’s blog. That’s where Zinkin needs to realize you can’t have it both ways. To support one of the citizen blogs in Oro Valley, and sue because of comments made on another because they are against you is nothing more than hypocritical.

What would Zinkin think if the other council members sued the other citizen blog for relentless attacks on them? He would call it ridiculous.

If Zinkin is successful in his efforts – how reluctant will citizens be in the future to take action when a councilman’s behavior is deemed questionable? How reluctant will they be to take advantage of the rights put in place to protect the interest of taxpayers?

If Zinkin is successful, will this be used as an example for other politicians to use in other elected seats?

This sets a bad precedent, sends a bad message from an elected official, and while I’m sure you have your personal feelings for Cox, you are an elected official who taxpayers expect to behave more professionally.

 

—Thelma Grimes

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Welcome to the discussion.

7 comments:

  • Concerned OV Citizen posted at 9:01 pm on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    Concerned OV Citizen Posts: 1

    Buckeyeduffer says to tell it like it really is.... and to quote him/her "I cannot imagine why any citizen would want to take a position on this town council only to face a 4-3 vote on every issue. I cannot imagine that the "minority 3" have zero valid ideas or programs to offer." A 4-3 vote on every issue? From June 3, 2012 to April 14, 2014, the council has voted on 137 items during regular town council meetings (excluding consent agendas and adjournment) and ONLY NINE times has the vote been 4-3, and one of those "4-3" votes was not the majority 4 vs the minority 3.. The minority 3 having zero valid ideas? Maybe it's because, as Thelma writes, they don't serve the entire community, just the interests of some. You are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts.

     
  • A Citizen posted at 4:57 pm on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    A Citizen Posts: 11

    Do we know which lawyer agreed to be complicit in Zinkin's retaliation? My lawyer friends tell me that the Supreme Court (in New York Times v. Sullivan and subsequent decisions) made it very clear that only under extreme circumstances can an elected official claim to be defamed. With no hopes of success for his case, Zinkin is obviously trying to intimidate a taxpaying citizen. As Thelma argues, that's bad regardless of "which side" you are on.

     
  • Takea posted at 3:28 pm on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    Takea Posts: 8

    Hey, Buckeyeduffer, I think you could be accused of drinking the Zinkin Kool-Aid spiked with a mind altering substance. You have been presented with the facts many times and your brain doesn’t seem to comprehend. Your conclusions are based on your opinions. I have read 7 of your recent postings and there is a common thread; you dislike the Mayor, your dislike four councilmembers, you dislike the OVPD and FOP. A guy from Ohio might be confused about Chicago-style politics; it isn’t the mayor or the four reasonable councilmembers afflicted with it. Zinkin has taken a page from Chicago-style politics, no wait, he practices Chicago-style politics – bully, retaliate and destroy. Quite possibly you are a very active member of the Zinkin machine.

     
  • David posted at 3:21 pm on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    David Posts: 16

    Here are some facts for Buckeyeduffer:

    1. The recall was NOT "over the top." (I suspect Buckeyeduffer had something to do with the failed recall attempt of two of our current council members. He should be aware of the number of variables that come into play in gathering signatures).

    2. The recall was NOT sponsored by the "majority 4” as he would like to think. Where is his proof?

    3. An elected official should not "retaliate," especially when there is no reason to. As Buckeyeduffer states, Zinkin was "punished." That's because the outside legal counsel found evidence that he had made "inappropriate comments of a sexual nature or regarding persons of Mexican national origin." Yet, Zinkin's supporters often say that this was much ado about nothing. The town employees don't think so and neither did the outside legal counsel.

     
  • Buckeyeduffer posted at 10:37 am on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    Buckeyeduffer Posts: 7

    Lets tell it like it really is.The recall was an "over the top" attack on Mr. Zinkin really sponsored by the "majority 4" of our Town Council who seem to zealously go out of their way to punish any dissenter to their positions. If Mr. Cox was willing to drink their coolaid and further attack Zinkin (who had already been punished and took corrective action for his indiscretions) then he should expect some retaliation.

    I cannot imagine why any citizen would want to take a position on this town council only to face a 4-3 vote on every issue. I cannot imagine that the "minority 3" have zero valid ideas or programs to offer.

     
  • David posted at 8:21 am on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    David Posts: 16

    Thelma,

    Thank you so much for writing this. It is important for the public to know Zinkin's true character. I would like to clarify one item and point something out:

    1. You stated that "not enough people agreed that his behavior warranted a recall." In reality, there were some hiccups that initially occurred that delayed the collection of recall signatures. Minus those hiccups, there is no doubt that more than enough signatures would have been collected and Zinkin would have faced a recall.

    2. Zinkin initially filed suit against Don Cox AND Kevin Jones, but has since dropped the suit against Kevin Jones. Why not drop both?

    Again, thanks for highlighting this ridiculous behavior.

     
  • John Flanagan posted at 8:17 am on Wed, Jun 18, 2014.

    John Flanagan Posts: 333

    I agree, Zinkin should not have filed a lawsuit. The matter will continue, the working environment will remain intimidating, and this will interfere with the efficiency of local government. The opposing parties could file a countersuit, the courts would be open to witness corroboration and testimony, and the end result may fare worse for Zinkin, and the level of acrimony will just continue like a soap opera. Who needs it?

     

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