Scottsdale council rejects Ortega’s measure to remove Development Review Board member

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

The Scottsdale City Council has turned down a push by Mayor David Ortega to remove Ali Fakih from the city’s Development Review Board.

The panel looks at real estate developments at  projects. It’s members are volunteer appointees approved by the city.

Scottsdale City Council member Tammy Caputi led the effort to keep Fakih on the panel. She also wants to roll back mayoral powers to push for removals of board members.

Ortega asked for Fakih to resign or be removed from the DRB over missing four meetings between June and September.

Instead, the city council voted 6 to 1 to continue Fakih’s tenure on the board.

Caputi criticized the mayor’s effort to remove Fakih.

Ortega had moved for the council to consider Fakih be removed from the development board. He said he did not demand Fakih be removed.

The council voted 6 to 1 (with only the mayor in opposition) to keep Fakih on the Scottsdale board.

She said decisions such as Ortega’s effort to remove Fakih should be a collective council decision.

“One of us should not have the sole discretion deciding to take action to terminate a member,” Caputi said.

She has introduced a resolution to have the council be surveyed and decide if board and commission members will be removed. The ordinance looks to require four members to bring a commission and board member’s removal on the agenda.

Ortega defended his use of the policy saying it has been in place more than 10 years. “There is no mandate that someone is ejected,” Ortega said in response to Caputi’s pushback.

Council member Betty Janik said she believes the current system of the mayor being able to put removals on the agenda works well.

Council member Linda Milhaven also favors having a majority of the council put board removals up for vote. She also faulted a letter from the mayor to Fakih on his attendance and potential resignation or removal.

The council voted 5-2 to continue the ordinance to Dec. 8.

Fakih has served on the DRB since 2020 and his term runs through 2023. He is principal with Sustainability Engineering Group and also previously served on the Scottsdale Planning Commission.

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