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The road to the Cave Creek Council: Election candidates offer viewpoints

Elizabeth Medora~ 1/28/2015

CAVE CREEK – The town of Cave Creek is holding a special mail-in election in March, with ballots being sent out to Cave Creek residents in mid-February. The Foothills Focus is profiling candidates to give them the opportunity to share their views on what they can bring to Cave Creek’s Council.

The special election is the product of a recall on four current council members. In this special election, each current council member is running against a specific individual.

This week’s profiles include current Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk and opposing candidate Susan Clancy.

 

Candidate Susan Clancy

 

Susan Clancy is a 30-year resident of Cave Creek. A former member of the Cave Creek Unified School District’s Governing Board, she is running against Adam Trenk for Trenk’s seat on the Cave Creek Town Council.

“A school governing board is extremely similar to the type of town management set up in the town of Cave Creek,” Clancy said. “The town manager is sort of your superintendent.” She described the shared work of a school superintendent and governing board as similar to the work of a town manager and Council. She feels that her 16-year background with the governing board and her business and sales background give her necessary experience for serving on the Council.

Clancy has been an active part of the current recall effort that produced the upcoming mail-in election. She was also chairman of Cave Creek Caring Citizens, the organization that filed a recall petition last year. That recall petition failed after it was challenged in court due to certain signatures that were deemed invalid by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

Clancy noted that, while she had actively collected recall petition signatures, it “was not an automatic” for her to run.

“I had not heard of anybody thinking of it (running in the election),” Clancy said, adding that she was thinking that after the effort to bring about the recall, she was surprised at the initial lack of response, although others did eventually file to run.

“Some of the folks in town approached me about running for Council,” Clancy said, adding that people told her years ago when she was considering running again for the CCUSD governing board that “you ask a lot of questions and you represent us.”

When asked why she felt the recall was necessary, Clancy replied, “I’m going to stay away from that at this point.” She added that she felt that the “health, safety, and welfare of the town was being undermined” but did not elaborate further.

While Clancy has received public support from the backers of the recall effort, she says she is running as “very much an independent.”

“I’m not part of a slate,” Clancy said, saying that she has “thanked them for their support but wanted to make sure they understood.”

“People come to me,” Clancy said, using road maintenance as an example. “You can’t see the lines (on Cave Creek roads). That’s dangerous. They need to be fixed. But they haven’t been.” She noted that, in her opinion, the Council was “not staying on top of this.”

If elected, Clancy said she plans to hold a town hall meeting that will be open to the public to “begin to listen and put up on a board those areas of concern” and afterwards, “trying to develop a strategic plan.”

“Cave Creek sits on a precipice of change,” Clancy said. “People have ideas. I’m willing to hear them.”

Susan Clancy does not have a campaign Web site. She can be contacted at (480) 488-2986.

 

Candidate Adam Trenk

 

Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk is in his second term with the Cave Creek Council. Trenk was first elected to the Council in 2009; he chose not to seek reelection in 2011. He began his current term in 2013.

“I’ve been an active member of this community for the last seven years,” Trenk said, noting his work with the fire committee and Cave Creek – Carefree Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve been paying attention to the way this community operates for 25 percent of my life.”

Trenk values the unique atmosphere of Cave Creek; he describes himself as a “lifelong horseman.”

 “It was a deliberate effort on my part to move to Cave Creek once I found this place,” Trenk emphasized. “I want to see it maintain its integrity as a rural environment.”

Trenk cited actions he feels are vital to “keep Cave Creek moving forward,” several of which deal with preserving the natural settings of Cave Creek, such as improving pedestrian and equestrian connectivity and securing open space adjoining the town. As a land use, zoning, and public policy attorney, Trenk feels his experience is well suited to governance of Cave Creek.

While Trenk was elected to his current term with the Council with the highest percentage of votes of the candidates who ran, his term has been a consistently rocky one. Talk of a recall began shortly after the 2013 election. A failed recall attempt that was dismissed due to a lack of verified signatures has already taken place. The mail-in election is the product of the second recall effort; four of the current Council members are being recalled. Trenk is facing opponent Susan Clancy in the March special election.

According to Trenk, the groups supporting the recall have little to say about his policies – “Nothing from opposition beyond just recalling,” he said. Trenk noted that while he “didn’t expect the recall,” it was “threatened immediately” after the election.

Asked about his feelings on the recall, Trenk said that he does not allow it to impact his work and that he focuses on the “community as a whole.”

Trenk discussed Cave Creek’s budget, specifically noting that in past years, the town had “built out a tremendous wastewater system,” which he says was not operated and maintained properly. He described a “$5 million expenditure” that “went down in the first week.” According to Trenk, the current Council members are now working to fix and budget for these issues that occurred before they took office.

One of Trenk’s goals if reelected is to “establish management benchmarks” that will “manage our performance, understand what is causing delays, and seek to operate more efficiently,” he explained.

Trenk supports the current Council, saying he “absolutely would like to see the Council keep their seats” and calling it a “dark day if even one loses the recall election.”

“Let’s put this recall in our rearview mirror,” Trenk said. “Let’s keep Cave Creek moving forward.”

To contact Adam Trenk or see more about his policies, visit www.AdamTrenk.com.