Hein's firing befuddles lawmakers - Tucson News Now

Hein's firing befuddles lawmakers

By Jim Becker  bio | email

While Tucson City Council Member Karen Uhlich speaks reassuringly about a city government moving forward with strength, one southern Arizona lawmaker seems ready to throw up his hands in disgust over the firing of manager Mike Hein.

Uhlich, who introduced the motion to fire Hein, says leaders took a huge step toward restoring confidence in Tucson city government, after the downtown revitalization program, or Rio Nuevo, has nearly stalled, the police chief's post remains vacant and hundreds of potholes go months without being fixed.

"Every action that we're taking is really in concert with their concerns about greater accountability and transparency and really improving checks and balances for Rio Nuevo," said Uhlich, "so I'm really confident that we're going to make good progress."

"It's making our life difficult," counters Frank Antenori (R-Tucson).  "They have consistently undermined our, the southern Arizona delegation's, efforts to preserve the (Tax Increment Financing) revenue in order to, for example, save the gem show.  They have stood in our way or created an undermining effort every step of the way."

Deputy City Manager Mike Letcher will fill the top post at least until he retires in November, and while Uhlich believes he'll help restore confidence in city government, Antenori believes the damage may be irreversible.

"They were looking for someone to throw under the bus, and now we have people again wondering why should we give these guys money?  Why should we trust the city of Tucson?" Antenori said.

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