Tempe Councilman's Words Earn Second Reprimand

Published: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 3:40pm
Updated: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 4:11pm

(Photo courtesy of Mario Martinez)
Mario Martinez said this was the post that spurred him to file a complain with the city of Tempe.
(Screen capture from Mario Martinez's Facebook page recorded June 16, 2017)
In Shields' memo, Granville said Martinez has been a critic of his for more than a year. Martinez has publicly posted his opinion about Granville on Facebook since at least 2015.

Tempe City Council will issue its second letter of reprimand this year to Councilman Kolby Granville after he referred to a resident who took a photo of him as a “psycho” and a “stalker."

“They did not treat the individual who took the photograph with dignity and respect,” said attorney Burr Shields, who investigated the incident and presented to the council at its work-study session Wednesday.

Shields found Granville’s actions violated the city personnel code and ethics handbook.

Here’s what happened, according to a Shields' memo:

  • On April 7, Mario Martinez alleges Councilman Granville posted on photo of himself on social media with the caption:
    “Things I never thought about when I decided to run for council. #1 That I would have my own personal, psycho, paparazzi stalker. #2 That he would take such good photos!”
  • Hours later, Granville re-posted the photo without the words psycho and stalker.
  • Martinez reached out to Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir, who assigned Assistant Police Chief Angel Carbajal to investigate.
  • On April 10, Martinez files a complaint with the Tempe City Manager.
  • May 19 is the date of Shields' memo to Tempe City Council.

When Tempe police contacted Granville and asked whether he was “concerned for his own safety,” Granville said yes. The city of Tempe then provided security at several events at the councilman’s home.

When interviewed by Shields about the incident, Granville said he initially posted the photo to social media because he liked it. When asked about the words accompanying the photo, Granville said it was “descriptive of the person who took the photo.”

Martinez said in an interview with KJZZ, he took the photo at a Tempe City Council meeting, specifically, a work-study session where one topic of discussion was whether Granville's actions in another situation deserved formal reprimand.

"There was some dramatic moments after that when Kolby recused himself and walked out," Martinez said.

Martinez told Shields he was motivated to make a formal complaint to the city, in part, because he “feels as though he was being punished by Councilman Granville for being involved in the political process.”

He also said he was concerned about the “assault on his character,” that the comment minimized the crime of stalking and was disrespectful to people experiencing mental illness.

Shields found Granville’s actions violated two sections of Tempe personnel rule that deal with abusive behavior and conduct that discredits the city.

The ethics handbook suggests staff have respect for others.

“It’s all about behavior,” said Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage on Wednesday. “Whether it’s us here at this table or people in the public or our staff. (sic) Very important to make sure we hold ourselves to the very highest standards.”

Granville recused himself from the discussion on the issue but said he made the choice independently to remove the language from his social-media post.

“The things you’re talking about are things that I chose to edit myself on very quickly," he said.

This is not the first interaction between Granville and Martinez, who has been critical of the councilman before.

For example, in a public 2015 Facebook post Martinez featured a campaign image that said “I support firefighters. I support Kolby Granville” and commented “Making duplicitous campaign signs are one of the things Kolby can do right. Being truthful with the voters — well that's where Kolby falls far short.”

This is the second time this year council has discussed Granville’s behavior in relation to Tempe’s code of ethics.

In January, the council similarly punished Granville after he used an expletive to describe the work of the assistant city attorney. The council's formal letter called Granville's conduct "disrespectful and undignified."

The Arizona Republic reported this was the first time a City Council member was reprimanded since Tempe updated its code of conduct and workplace ethics in 2009.

Granville declined to comment for this story until a formal letter of reprimand is approved by Tempe City Council.

Martinez said he is satisfied with the council's decision.

“I really highly commend the Tempe City Council for their ethics with the exception of Kolby of course,” Martinez said.

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