Questioning The Town Attorney's Opinion On Task Forces

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Editor:

I'm shocked and yet happy that our cloistered town attorney has rendered an official public opinion of his own, without having to use public funds to pay an outside attorney for an opinion. Good for him. But he's doing the hot potato dance and he knows it. No way can the following be legal or ethical: Hand-picked appointed chairman by the mayor who in turn hand-picks his task force members.

  • They meet in secret at undisclosed meeting locations and unknown times. They do not allow the public to attend.
  • No meeting agenda is posted ahead of time so the public knows what's to be discussed and suggested recommendations.
  • No official recording of these meetings are made or available to the public for future review.
  • Having members who are not residents of the town of Payson giving their recommendations as to what's best for the people of Payson and how to spend our public monies.
  • A current town council member appointed as chair of a task force who will be presenting recommendations to that same council member to possibly vote upon.

The mayor, some council members, and the town attorney can tap dance all they want between task forces being official and unofficial. The mayor is the chief public officer and has formed these committees and appointed chairmen. He has given them directives to follow.

Some task forces are in direct conflict with the current appointed "official" citizen recommendation boards. But then the mayor didn't appoint them or can't impose his agenda over them, now can he? How much duplication of effort is now occurring?

And what if a task force recommendation disagrees or is in conflict with an "official board" recommendation to the council or a department head? That may require an outside attorney's legal opinion.

Don Evans, Payson

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