The “Toxic” Administration Of Mayor Howard Frimark


It’s hard to imagine how something like the introduction of new City Manager Jim Hock at Monday night’s City Council meeting could be botched so badly that the new official would end up being insulted by the mayor even before he signed his employment contract.  But that’s only because it’s hard to imagine Mayor Howard Frimark’s capacity for petty and boorish behavior.

With Hock and his wife looking on, Frimark prefaced his announcement of Hock’s hiring with the observation that he had wanted somebody else for the position.  That probably took a good bit of luster off the old Welcome Wagon for our newest city employee, but at least it gave Hock an early look at what he can expect from the mayor in the future.  

Not surprisingly, Frimark’s first choice for city manager – Chris Clark – was the least experienced of the three finalists, but he possessed the qualification our mayor most highly prizes: he was connected.  Not only is Clark a long-time insurance client of Frimark’s but so are his parents, who are also personal friends of the mayor’s.  Frimark indignantly claims that those relationships didn’t influence his choice of Clark and that they shouldn’t even be an issue.  But those kinds of relationships reek of conflict of interest and are exactly the things that should be publicly disclosed, early and often.

Not content merely to insult our new city manager, Frimark used the occasion to take another gratuitous swipe at his principal Council adversary, Ald. Dave Schmidt (1st Ward), for Schmidt’s completely lawful and honorable disclosure of the City’s process for hiring attorneys to audit the Park Ridge Police Department, and of the City’s attempt to purchase 720 Garden for a new police station – two matters that Frimark and his alderpuppets were concealing from the taxpayers.

But the most telling part of Frimark’s diatribe may have been his slap at “the ugly blogs” and certain un-named members of the public for “attacking [him] for sport” and creating a “toxic” political atmosphere in Park Ridge.  That’s because those objects of Frimark’s ire are the ones holding him accountable for his arrogant, crass and ham-handed abuse of City government – and the taxpayers who have to pay for it.

In the three years he has been mayor most of Frimark’s achievements have been of the dubious variety, including his leading role in ending decades of local government tradition by cutting the City Council in half, his driving most of the City’s senior staff to resignation or early retirement, and his creating the appearance of “pay to play” with his sweetheart deals for his political contributors – such as the Executive Office Plaza zoning variances and the Napleton land clean-up giveaway.

Calling out Mayor Frimark for the many ways he has been dis-serving his constituents is not “sport” because, frankly, it’s far too easy and unpleasant to be considered a sporting endeavor.  But it is our duty, one that we will continue to do until he either straightens up and flies right or he leaves the office to someone who understands that public service isn’t the same as self-service, someone who will fairly represent all the people of our community rather than a handful of special interests, and someone who appreciates Park Ridge for both what it is and what it is not. 

Until that time comes, the most “toxic” element of Park Ridge government will remain the man who sits in the big office at 505 Butler Place.

8 comments so far

Dead on Watchdog!

I read the comments in the Herald Advocate from the mayor regarding the reasoning of Mr. Clark to withdraw his name as a candidate for city manager. I also saw nothing of a toxic nature in the blogosphere regarding Mr. Clark, only facts regarding his family connections to the mayor. Nothing of an ad hominem nature, just facts. Perhaps if the matter were pushed to the limits by the mayor, something may have been published about Mr. Clarks qualifications vis a vis his co-applicants; nothing to be ashamed about, just facts. I wish Mr. Hock all the best in his new position and welcome him to our town. Hopefully he’ll only be dealing with Mayor Toxic for another few months.

Howard’s treatment of our new city manager has to be a new low, even for Howard. To publicly denigrate your selection for the most important job in City government and then use the occasion to lash out at your opponents is beyond classlessness.
I have known for a long time that I made a mistake in supporting Howard for mayor (which I will not repeat)but I wish he would stop demonstrating his ineptitude. Hopefully the City Manager will outlast Howard by a good long time.

I guess it’s better late than never that you caught on Mr. Baldi. You should know that this might be a new PUBLIC low for Howard. Howard has conducted himself much lower out of public view. The man is a scumbag.

Earth to Howard, Earth to Howard…

Just how many people do you think you can offend and alienate and still have any chance of:
1. getting anything productive done at 505 Butler,
2. having any chance of the re-election you want so badly or,
3. being able to show your face anywhere without people looking the other way, snickering or flat out dissing you right to your face??

Maybe it’s time for you to pull a Wietecha…

Bye, bye, byyyyyyyyyyyyyye

The Public Watchdog missed what I think is very important and telling part of Frimark’s comments at the meeting. He not only blamed the “ugly blogs”, he also said that the press reports on the animosities among elected officials, as if to be blaming the press too for reporting anything negative about city government! Does Frimark think the press shouldn’t report on things as they are if they are negative? That is amazing! It sounds like Frimark thinks the press should be a public relations firm for our town with only positive happy things in their newspapers! I think the newspapers are already full of plenty of that already. I read Frimark’s comments and it felt like he is trying to give us all laughing gas or something! I thought it was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was reading it. I thought the blogs would say more about that.

I can’t quite figure out if Frimark is just arrogant or just plain stupid, but either way we’ve got a major who is an embarrassment to Park Ridge and its citizens. I’m with Wondering – let Frimark drop off a resignation letter on the new city mgr’s desk and leave town. Let him be Bonita Springs’ problem all year round, not just during the winter.

I’ve been trying to think of anything that Mayor Frimark has done since taking office that looks like it was done solely for the people of Park Ridge and not something that he (Frimark) gets any “personal” benefit from.

Tick, tick, tick, tick….

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