Yesterday, Don Bristow wrote an incisive analysis of the Council's January 16 discussion of the non reappointment of citizen Gil Alexander to the CDRB.
Don questioned whether a letter sent by the Mayor claiming that the Council had decided not to reappoint Mr. Alexander and the "block vote" denying this appointment by the Mayor and his three council allies, Council Members Waters, Snider and Hornat, constituted a violation of the Arizona Open Meeting law.
The Arizona open meeting law is intended to keep the governance of the State's cities and towns in front of the residents. Essentially, as it relates to Oro Valley, the Oro Valley Town Council can not make decisions unless these are made in front of the public. Council Members are not allowed to meet in small groups to discuss issues on which decisions will be made . They are not allowed to poll each other. Decisions must be made at public council meetings.
Any representation that the Council made a decision upon which all council members did not opine or vote at a council meeting is a violation of the open meeting law. That, in essence, is the letter sent to Mr. Alexander.
The letter sent by the Mayor sent to Mr. Alexander is signed by Mayor Hiremath. It is dated November 21, 2012. The first sentence of the second paragraph reads:
"While we acknowledge and appreciate your service, the Council has decided not to reappoint you to the Conceptual Design Review Board at this time."The Mayor "explained" at the January 16 council meeting that the word "Council" should have included the work "Liaison." Thus, to the Mayor, the statement in the letter was a simple mistake. It was an oversight. So, really, in his mind he is guilty of nothing other than perhaps sloppy work.
We've excerpted portions of this exchange between the Mayor and Council Member Garner. Watch the video. You be the judge.
In the video, the Mayor is seen taking offense to further exploratory questions posed by fellow Council Member Bill Garner regarding the supposed "violations" alleged to Mr. Alexander. The Mayor says the specific violations were in the council packet, which they were not. Clearly 'winging it', the Mayor then asks a rather off-point question on what is the plural of the word council? The question was so off-point that all Council Members sat in stark silence. Finally, clearly unwilling to enter into an fortright dialogue, th Mayor bangs the gavel and calls the on Vice Mayor Waters, the CDRB Council Liaison, to "bail him out." Clearly, the Mayor had no substantive reason to not reappoint Mr. Alexander; unless one concludes that there is someone waiting to take the position, some "groomed" for the job, as noted by Vice Mayor Waters.
If the words in the letter are simply a mistake, then the letter itself is an example of truly slopply work on the part of the Mayor. Perhaps the Mayor should read what he signs! If, on the other hand, it is an open meeting law violation then the Attorney Generals' office should follow up. We suspect they will. If someone is groomed and 'waiting in the wings" then identify them now. Clear up the mystery. Come our of the shadows, Mr. Mayor.