Fritz Can't Get Back To Work Fast Enough

It's no secret around City Hall: No one is more eager for City Manager Fritz Behring to return to work than Brian Biesemeyer.
After Behring suffered a seizure and a stroke more than five months ago, the city's line of succession kicked in.  Biesemeyer, the Executive Director of the Water Resources Department, was appointed Acting City Manager.
Initially, Behring was expected to return in about three months.  But it hasn't turned out that way.  There is still no word when Behring will be back.
Meanwhile, Biesemeyer is holding down the fort.  According to City Hall sources, he says he can't wait to return to work in the water department - because the contentious issues and political controversies he has encountered are more than he bargained for.
Biesesmeyer was hired exactly three years ago to replace Marshall Brown as head of the water department.  He had been serving as the Deputy Utilities Director for the City of Peoria.  As an engineer by education and trade, Biesemeyer wasn't prepared for the politics involved in managing a city like Scottsdale for an extended period of time.
The retired Army Lieutenant Colonel probably couldn't have begun filling in for Fritz at a better time.  When Biesemeyer took the helm, the 2015-2016 fiscal budget, though not officially approved by the City Council, was already locked in.  There weren't any controversial issues cooking - so Biesemeyer was able to get through a peaceful orientation period and a smooth summer without incident.    
Looking back, that was the calm before the storm.  
When the Council returned from their summer recess at the end of August, important issues began popping up.  First, the Council revisited the divisive Non-Discrimination Ordinance process.  Then came the heated Scottsdale Galleries Association vs Artisan Markets feud.  And, most recently, there was the Cultural Council asking the City Council for $1.6 million in additional funding to fix deteriorating infrastructure that sparked heated debate resulting in the organization receiving only about one-third of it's request. 
The next hot topic on the Council docket will be a discussion about how to pay for the maintenance and repair of the priority projects on the bond ballot that voters' rejected two weeks ago.  That conversation by the Council will link directly to what is always a spirited dialogue about the city's budget.
Brian Biesemeyer is expected to have his hands full. 
Every city manager has the prerogative to name their temporary replacement for when he or she is unable to perform their job.  Behring named Biesemeyer.  So it's no surprise that from time to time, Biesemeyer seeks Behring's advice while Fritz is convalescing from his medical incident.  The politics of government is often spontaneous, so Fritz's help from home has limitations.  That means for the most part Biesemeyer is on his own.
However, Biesemeyer has been relying on the city's other charter officers for assistance - especially Treasurer Jeff Nichols.   When he isn't relying on Nichols for help, he turns to Assistant City Manager Brent Stockwell, who has walked point on the major issues: the Non-Discrimination Ordinance, the Artisan Markets' controversy and the Cultural Council's failed funding request.
Several Councilmembers are growing concerned about the methods being used to manage the city.  Some even believe that much of the recent acrimonious political atmosphere would never have happened under Behring's watch.  However, none of it, they say, is a reflection on Biesemeyer.    He is, after all, only the "Acting" City Manager.
Fritz Behring's leadership and management skills are sorely missed.  Everyone is looking forward to his return.
Especially Brian Biesemeyer.