Zinkin sets bad precedent - Northwest Chatter - Explorer

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Zinkin sets bad precedent


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