College Board Found In Violation Of Open Meeting Laws

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The Arizona Attorney General's Office found the Gila County Community College Board of Governors in violation of open meeting laws associated with Eastern Arizona College's presence in Gila County.

Meanwhile, board member Dick Wolfe said he will resign his duties as District One's representative following the Attorney General's decree.

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Bob Ashford, acting chairman, GCCC board.

"I'm very upset because (the board of governors) got only a slap on the wrist," Wolfe said.

The Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team, or OMLET, imposed a $500 fine on Bob Ashford, acting chairman, for his hand in e-mailing confidential information to Eastern Arizona College personnel.

OMLET also requires that the board sign consent agreements promising that the five members will attend an Open Meeting Law training program; implement a policy regulating and preserving e-mail communications; and discuss the Attorney General's findings in a public forum.

The Attorney General's investigation, which began in May 2005, covered documents produced between January 2005 and April 2005. Wolfe said he refuses to suffer the consequences of the board's actions, which occurred before his term started.

"For me to be a part of this consent form suggests that I was a part of these violations, and I wasn't," said Wolfe. "I've worked very hard to maintain my reputation."

Wolfe took his seat on the board in June 2005 after then board chairman Ron Christensen relinquished the post.

A Dec. 20 letter, sent by Deputy State Attorney Laurie Woodall, detailed the attorney general's findings.

Woodall censured the five-member board of governors for holding meetings via e-mail without a quorum present; failing to provide copies of meeting minutes; and divulging confidential details of executive sessions.

Ashford wouldn't discuss the Attorney General's findings, but said he looked forward to Eastern Arizona College's future in Payson.

"I'm glad we're finally going to get this behind us so we can concentrate on building programs for adult programs in Gila County," said Ashford.

Former Gila Community College president, Barbara Ganz, declined to comment on the ruling.

The board of governors will meet again the second week of January, location to be determined.

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