You Can't Legislate Decency

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Editor:

Re: Gila Community College Board violations of Open Meeting Laws

As a citizen who has followed the issues surrounding the GCC Governing Board for a year or so, I find the report of the AG's office on the open meeting violations extremely troubling. It raises some serious questions.

First, why is the whole board being punished instead of the perpetrators? All data I have seen point to one person, which the AG's office seems to be acknowledging in fining Mr. Ashford $500. The result of the AG's indiscriminate action is that innocent parties are planning to resign rather than being lumped in with the guilty, and, to make matters worse, we in Northern Gila County are about to lose one or more of our representatives.

Secondly, if those guilty of the violations acted illegally, why is the result of their actions, the extremely one-sided contract between Gila CC and EAC, allowed to stand? This lack of corrective action on the part of the AG's office leaves Gila County taxpayers stuck with a contract that greatly enriches Ashford's collaborators at our expense.

Thirdly, what good is the open meeting law, which I assume was enacted to prevent behind the scenes deal-making, if the AG's office does so little about the results of violations?

Why should anyone worry about a little fine if they are colluding in a multi-million dollar deal? Ladies and gentlemen, these violations were not just occasional lapses, as any organization might accidentally make, they were numerous and deliberate, and included divulging confidential information to EAC as Ashford worked as point man for them in their takeover of GCC. A little censure will be quickly forgotten, but the results will live on.

This whole "open meeting" business, and the AG's handling of it, would be pathetic if it weren't so outrageous. I guess you really can't legislate decency!

Marilyn Decker, Payson

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