Former Florence Town Manager Himanshu Patel Vying for Manager in Cave Creek
Himanshu Patel, who spent about a decade managing the town of Florence, now is vying to become Cave Creek city manager.
Patel is competing against Peter Jankowski, from Massachussetts, and James Palenick, from North Carolina, for the job. And Cave Creek town officials are expected to make a final decision at December 16 council meeting.
While he had a long stint in Florence, questions have been raised about his final act as a Florence official.
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In December 2012, Patel played a key role in damaging the careers of two cops -- Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson -- by firing them based on bogus allegations.
Although he claimed in town documents that he carefully reviewed the allegations against the officers, as well as their response to allegations against them, he told a different story under oath when the pair appealed their firing.
The legal proceedings revealed that instead of an investigation, Patel followed the lead of Florence Police Chief Dan Hughes and Lieutenant Terry Tryon.
Patel, who had final responsibility for firing police employees, did not conduct an investigation of the allegations against the two detectives, the appeals hearings revealed.
Both are taking legal action against the town.
It was clear during the hearings that Patel was aware of the bad blood between the detectives and Tryon because of the detectives' loyalty to the police chief who preceded Hughes.
Generally, it went down this way: Tryon gathered "evidence" against the detectives and turned it over to Hughes. In turn, Hughes parroted Tryon's point of view.
Hughes didn't notify either detective that he was under investigation. He offered them no chance to respond to allegations he sent up to Patel for review.
At that point, it was Patel's decision to make.