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Quartzsite, Arizona

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quartzsite Council Special Meeting on hold after Town posts press release

Quartzsite, Arizona political drama continues! Council Member Carol Kelley told Desert Messenger, "as far as I know, there will be no meeting today." Council Member Mark Orgeron told there will be no Special Meeting today, originally scheduled for 4pm.

To recap the yesterdays events leading up to today:

Yesterday three Quartzsite council members (Mark Orgeron, Carol Kelley, and Norma Crooks) called for a Special Meeting for 4pm today.

Items on the agenda were: discussion and possible action on the services of Town Manager Alexandria Taft; and discussion and possible reinstatement of Police Chief Jeff Gilbert.

The signed letter was delivered to Quartzsite Town Hall yesterday afternoon between 1:30-2pm, well within the required time limit of 24 hours notice.

Town Hall did not attempt to post agenda online and/or at regular posting locations, but later posted a "press release" on the website.

Council members obviously did their job, following Arizona statutes to make a reasonable and practical effort to notify the public. Sources report that all eight posting sites in Quartzsite had the required agenda posted before 4:00pm yesterday afternoon.

Town Hall videos will prove exactly when two council members arrived at Town Hall between 1:30-2:00pm to deliver the letter, when the agenda was posted at Town Hall before 4pm, and who removed it before 4:30pm.

Videos will prove when the agenda was posted at QPD before 4pm and who removed the posting before 4:30pm.

Desert Messenger was handed (in person) a copy of the letter for publication at approximately 2:30pm. Desert Messenger published the meeting announcement online at at 3:13pm, posting also to Facebook to over 300 fans and to almost 800 Twitter followers, including multiple media outlets.

According to multiple sources, by 3pm yesterday all Quartzsite council members had been notified of the meeting and items on the agenda to be discussed.

Town Hall posted a "Press Release" on their website yesterday afternoon. The document named " Docs/Press Release TA Brannan.html", does not contain the name of the person issuing the press release, nor was it sent to local press. However both Taft and Quartzsite Town Attorney Martin Brannan have since claimed the press release was written by Taft.

The press release stated Brannan advised council members that the meeting, if held, would violate the open meeting law and that if they attend the meeting, and his advise is correct, they will be intentionally violating the open meeting law. It was stated they may also be fined and possibly be removed from office.

The press release also stated that Quartzsite staff will not be attending today's meeting.

Kelley said, "we have to let the public know that we're not having the meeting today." She said there will be someone at Town Hall to answer questions for anyone who does show up. 

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 27th at 9am at Quartzsite Town Hall.


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