Council member Mike Zinkin has demonstrated conduct unbecoming of an elected official that has led to fact-based allegations of harassment that are sexual in nature, and in uttering racially insensitive comments. In his awkward and embarrassing attempts to brush the resulting criticism and complaints under the rug, Mike Zinkin is being disingenuous and deceitful with the public.
The reason Mike Zinkin has attacked the police department has nothing to do with police overtime or with his oversight responsibility as a council member. On two occasions, Mr. Zinkin has stated that he understands that police overtime is not an issue. So why is he persisting in his attacks on our police department? It’s simple. There have been two complaints leveled at Mr. Zinkin. One of the complaints is from a female police officer. Mr. Zinkin is attempting to retaliate against her. He has stated that if there is an opportunity to downgrade her position as a police officer, then so be it. Mr. Zinkin is using his position and the ruse of accountability to intimidate her.
If Mr. Zinkin were an employee of the town his behavior would be dealt with swiftly and severely under town policy. Unfortunately the rules don’t apply to him. He knows this and he continues to create an atmosphere of oppression and intimidation. Because of this, two women are fearful of losing their jobs. If this were a private sector matter, Mr. Zinkin would have been terminated by now. Why should it be different in the public sector? Your elected officials ought to be held to a higher standard. The voting members of our community can hold Mike Zinkin accountable and thereby give relief to the employees he has harassed.
There are additional examples of the arrogant and reprehensible behavior exhibited by Mike Zinkin. They include the recent investigation of a hit and run accident, that revealed he had failed in a timely fashion to notify the owner of the vehicle he hit. This incident was reported in The Explorer, and the account of Mr. Zinkin has been refuted. When the facts are inconvenient, Mr. Zinkin changes his story, or apologizes without changing his attitude or his behavior. Little wonder that Mr. Zinkin has stated that he doesn’t like communicating by email, because it leaves a paper trail. The deviousness of Mr. Zinkin includes his attempt to solicit another council member to request the overtime reports from the Oro Valley Police Department, because he didn’t want to arouse suspicion. Is this the type of characteristic behavior the residents of Oro Valley want to condone in an elected official?
Recently the insensitivity of Mike Zinkin hit a new low. When the Town of Oro Valley received positive recognition for escorting and honoring the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots from the Yarnell Hill tragedy, Mike Zinkin asked how it helped the residents of Oro Valley. Mike Zinkin wants you to believe that he is the choice of the people. Yet in person and in practice he uses the tactics of a bully to silence his critics. He is a disgrace and does not deserve his status as a council member. Mike Zinkin should be recalled from office. Anyone who comes to the defense of Mike Zinkin ought to consider their own judgment and sensibilities.
This matter of concern with Mike Zinkin goes beyond philosophical views and differences regarding public policy. This unfortunate circumstance is a predicament of his own making, by not treating people with respect, and in particular demeaning women. Council members sign a code of conduct when elected. The expectation is that we must adhere to it. I ask that you sign the recall petition and vote to recall Mike Zinkin.
(Editor’s Note: Satish Hiremath is the mayor of Oro Valley. The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Explorer. Councilman Mike Zinkin has been given the option to respond in the Jan. 1 edition.)