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Quartzsite, Arizona

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quartzsite Mayor offers settlement IF Council abolishes Police Dept.

By Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Publisher Desert Messenger

Quartzsite, AZ - In a letter dated April 9, 2014, Mayor Ed Foster's attorney Julie A. LaBenz presented a "Settlement Offer" to the Town of Quartzsite, in an effort to resolve La Paz County case number CV2013-0115. Foster wants the Town Council to vote to abolish the Quartzsite Police Department, and have La Paz County Sheriff provide law enforcement services. 

Foster's case challenges a ruling which denied him the right to use his Mayor's Veto. Quartzsite Town Council approved Resolution 13-09 on December 10, 2013 regarding a USDA Sewer Loan to expand the sewer treatment plant. The council voted 5-1 to approve the resolution with an emergency clause, but that failed because 6 votes were required from the 7-member board. Council approved the resolution without the emergency clause.
Then on December 17th, the council approved the resolution with the emergency clause, with Foster voting nay. Foster later attempted to use his Mayoral Veto and stop the resolution. Mohave Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert ruled the execution of the contract as an "emergency". Foster is appealing that ruling, which has resulted in placing the sewer loan on hold.

During his campaign, Foster pledged to fire former Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert. Gilbert was released from his contract in October 2013. Gilbert stated his ouster was orchestrated to cover up an inquiry he launched into Town Council members for allegedly releasing confidential police documents. Foster has advocated disbanding the police force and letting La Paz County Sheriff's Office handle the town's law enforcement. Earlier this year, the council refused Foster's idea, so now he's offering to "settle" his case.

The letter reads as follows: (see link at end of article for copy of the original letter)

In the settlement offer Re:       
Settlement Offer pursuant to Rule 408, Arizona Rules of Evidence
Dear Mrs. Schwab & Mrs. Ronan, In an effort to resolve La Paz County case number CV2013-0115, pursuant to Rule 408, Arizona Rules of Evidence, Plaintiff Mayor hereby conveys the following offer of settlement:That in exchange for Defendants' agreement to the following, Plaintiff Mayor will withdraw his veto and dismiss his appeal:
  • Vote to abolish the Quartzsite Police Department;
  • Enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the La Paz County Sheriff's Office to provide a Quartzsite Metro Squad to patrol Quartzsite, saving the Town approximately $500,000 per year;
  • Dedicate the funds saved by abolishing the Quartzsite Police Department to the HURF loan and the prospective USDA loan for a period of six (6) years;
  • Agree that the sewer rates be restructured to be based strictly on a volumetric rate based on water usage; and
  • Payment of Mayor Foster's legal fees and costs in full.
This offer will expire at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Today, Desert Messenger received the following opinion letter from a reader,

"It appears that Mayor Foster is "blackmailing" the rest of the Town council in exchange for dropping the law suit he has pending against his own Town! He is calling (soliciting) (demanding) for a vote to abolish the Quartzsite Police Department and to enter into an agreement with La Paz County!  Dictating the sewer rates to his terms! Demanding that his legal fees and cost are paid by the Town he is the mayor of! This must be exposed and reported to the Attorney General's office!

If this isn't BLACKMAILING or some type of violation of public office laws, then there is no hope for this Town! The Mayor is suppose to serve the people who elected him, NOT be SELF SERVING! This man will never get it! The council meeting is Tuesday (today) 4-22-14 at their first evening meeting at 7:00 pm. It is about time the Desert Messenger is responsible and it exposes the corruption of Foster and his dictatorship style of a public figure. Come on Ms Rain, get your butt down to the meeting and get the facts reported. You should be able to still up some real thunder with a name like that! This may mean nothing more for the rest of the county to laugh at, but for Quartzsite we take it very seriously because it is destroying everything good that we have."

The next meeting is tonight, Tuesday, April 22 at 7pm.


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