As reporter in The Explorer.(below) the OV Council approved a new code to clarify how employees may be or may not be involved in supporting candidates for election.
Political activities defined
The issue of what, if any, political activities town employees can engage in has been debated for the past few months.
The council asked Town Attorney Tobin Rosen at the Jan. 20 meeting to advise on any restrictions against employees engaging in political activity, such as volunteering on campaigns, collecting signatures or donating money.
The council voted to have the issue delayed until last Wednesday. Council members asked for examples of how other Arizona municipalities handle employee politicking.
"Reading the policies, I think it's fair to say it's all over the map," Rosen told the council.
He told the council that Oro Valley's policy appeared to have been taken verbatim from the city of Scottsdale.
Councilman Al Kunisch suggested the town adopt a policy similar to that enforced by state government. That policy forbids state employees from acting as officers in political campaigns or managing elections of recall efforts.
State employees can sign petitions and make and solicit campaign contributions.
"I would have a severe issue with people being solicited at town hall," Councilman Bill Garner said, who also said he would have issues with town employees circulating petitions.
The revised town code mirrors state law, with the exception of forbidding Oro Valley employees from circulating political petitions at work. All the prohibitions apply to Oro Valley municipal elections, including running for local elected office.
The following change to town code was accepted unanimously: "Employees may not be members of political committees, officers of partisan political committees or nominees for paid elective office. Employees may not take part in the management or affairs of political parties, campaigns or recall efforts. Employees may express opinions, attend meetings, vote, sign nomination or recall petitions and advocate for election or defeat of candidates."