Quartzsite, Arizona - According to a Press Release issued January 27th by Quartzsite Town Manager, Alex Taft, the town did not fire attorney Michael Frame as public defender, as previously reported online. [Editor's note: this press release was not reported on by Desert Messenger earlier, due to time constraints and deadlines. I apologize for the lateness.] The following is the press release:
TOWN OF QUARTZSITE
January 27, 2012
"The Town of Quartzsite has not “fired” Michael Frame as its public defender. Michael Frame was not a Town employee and had no long-term contract to serve as the Town’s public defender. Although the Town submitted a Request for Qualifications in the Spring of 2011, no one, including Michael Frame, submitted qualifications for consideration for a long-term contract with the Town.
Because Michael Frame’s contract with the Town had lapsed, the Town believed that it was in an implied month-to-month contract with Frame. When Frame increased his rates without giving a month’s notice to the Town, the Town realized that either its belief that it had a month-to-month agreement with Frame was erroneous or that Frame was intentionally breaching the month-to-month agreement by raising his rates without providing proper notice. In either event, the Town elected to follow the June 28, 2011 guidance from the Council and cease using Michael Frame as an exclusive public defender and to make appointments using the Superior Court’s appointment list while the town continued searching for a qualified public defender in search of a long-term agreement.
The decision by the Town Council to use the Superior Court’s rotation list was made by a unanimous vote of the Town Council, including then-mayor Ed Foster, and preceded the hiring of Martin Brannan as the Town Attorney and was not influenced by Brannan in any way. The decision to cease its perceived month-to-month contract, which was either perceived in error or breached by Michael Frame, was made solely by the Town Manager and was not influenced, in any way, by Brannan."