Mayoral Task Forces Not Following The Law

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Editor:

I understand that our town attorney believes that the various mayor-appointed task force committees and meetings are not "official" and they do not work for the Town of Payson. Therefore, they are not subject to the Open Meeting Law. Baloney.

1. These task forces and their chairmen were appointed by the Chief Public Officer of the town, i.e. the mayor of Payson.

2. These task forces are to do investigations, write reports, and make recommendations to town staff and the council. All done in private meetings, with no agenda posted, and no open meeting notice to the public.

3. A yet to be determined number of these task force "appointed" members, are not "electors" or even residents of the town of Payson.

4. The Water Task Force won't even reveal who their members are to the citizens of Payson.

Somebody in the town government and the town council better wake up and read the Arizona Revised Statutes that govern "appointed boards and committees." Playing a semantics game on what they are called is not going to make the issue go away. Someone is going to say foul to the State Attorney General. Or, a lawsuit could result against the town and the officials who knowingly allowed this illegal activity to occur.

Payson Town Code 33.02 reads, "Every regular member of a town board, committee, or commission shall be an elector of the town."

Other Arizona Revised Statutes that apply:

38-431.09 and it's sub-sections clearly define what advisory committees are, and that they are bound by the Open Meeting Law.

38-431.09. Declaration of public policy: It is the public policy of this state that meetings of public bodies be conducted openly and that notices and agendas be provided for such meetings which contain such information as is reasonably necessary to inform the public of the matters to be discussed or decided. Toward this end, any person or entity charged with the interpretations of this article shall construe any provision of this article in favor of open and public meetings.

38-431. Definitions

1. "Advisory committee" means a committee that is officially established, upon motion and order of a public body or "by the presiding officer of the public body, and whose members have been appointed for the specific purpose of making a recommendation concerning a decision to be made or considered or a course of conduct to be taken or considered by the public body."

Need I go on?

Don Evans, Payson

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