Skip to comments.Mohave County residents: County broke state laws
Posted on 02/02/2012 6:38:54 PM PST by Hildy
Two Mohave County residents are asking the County Attorney's Office to investigate the situation surrounding the leasing of office space for the County Library Annex.
Both Golden Valley resident Butch Meriwether and District II Mohave County Supervisor Candidate Hildy Angius have sent letters to Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith stating that they believe the county may have violated several state laws when it signed a lease for office space for the Library Annex with ORB Investments on Gordon Drive in Kingman.
The letters are a response to several questions Angius asked about the lease during a Board of Supervisors meeting in November. At that time, she questioned the size of the space and the feasibility of leasing space when there seemed to be more than enough office space in current county buildings to hold the offices. She also pointed out that the relatives of two county employees owned the property being leased.
Deputy County Civil Attorney Bill Ekstrom read an opinion from County Civil Attorney Bob Taylor into the public record at a Board meeting in January. In his opinion, Taylor stated that the county had followed all state and local procurement laws, and no county employees who were related to ORB Investment were involved in the negotiation.
In their letters, Meriwether and Angius point to Arizona Revised Statute 38-503, which states that any public officer or employee who has or whose relative has a substantial interest in any contract, sale, purchase or service to a public entity, such as the county, has to make that interest known in the official records of the agency and cannot participate in the decision to approve a purchase or service contract.
It also states that public employees or their relatives cannot supply any equipment or services to the public entity without the process going out for a competitive bid, unless it is a one-time purchase of less than $300 or an annual purchase of less than $1,000.
Meriwether and Angius also pointed to ARS 38-509, which states that every political division and public agency of the state has to maintain a file, for public inspection, containing any potential conflicts of interest an employee or their relative might have with the county.
Meriwether said he asked two county employees if he could see the file, and was told that they didn't know which office maintained the file and a county official told him he wasn't sure such a file existed.
Angius asked for the same file and was handed a file with one sheet of paper.
"I've got to believe there are more people than that who work for the county and may have a conflict of interest," she said. "I'm not out to play gotcha. I just want the county to do the right thing."
The whole thing could easily be resolved, said District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson.
"All that's required by law is a simple letter to be placed in the file," he said.
For County Manager Ron Walker to create such a blow-up over the whole situation is ridiculous, Watson said.
Walker wrote a five-page letter to Board Chairman Buster Johnson and County Attorney Matt Smith shortly after the November Board meeting attacking both Angius and Watson for their questions during the meeting.
Walker has been over reaching his authority lately, Watson said. He has plans to make some suggestions to fix the Library Annex situation at the next Board meeting on Feb. 6 at the County Administration Building.
I like your style Hildy!
Go get ‘em!