Fire Board Recall Needs Close Study

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Editor:

On Jan. 12, the Roundup reported "one side" of a news item on the recall of a nine-year Pine-Strawberry Fire board member, Ross Gooder. Without giving Mr. Gooder the time he needed to rebut the charges of the recall petition.

This recall petition is an example of the employees (Pine/Strawberry firefighters and EMTs) trying to take over the management of the firehouse.

If a signer of the recall petition had taken the time to read what it claimed, vis-vis Mr. Gooder's actions, they would have been shocked, as I was, by the long list of indefensible claims: 1) "malfeasance and unprofessionalism as a Fire Board member;" 2) "failure to adhere to agenda protocol;" 3) "repeated violations of Fire Board By-Laws and the Arizona open meeting law."

None of these accusations are supported by specific examples, yet when printed on a recall petition, our County Supervisors, led by Tommie Martin, stated in the Dec. 19 edition of the Roundup that, "all they (the Supervisors) can do is call for the "special recall election, since the number of required signatures were met."

I would wager that if the recall petition had been for one of our Gila County Supervisors, they would have demanded that the claims for recall be more than a list of general, unsupported claims.

When I personally questioned Ms. Dixie Mundy, Gila County Elections Supervisor, how such general claims could be made and, thereby support a recall at the County level, Ms. Mundy said, "that further justification/clarification was not specified by the Arizona Statutes, which control the recall." However, I believe that education and good taste should.

There is one claim, raised on the petition, which I believe clearly identifies the reason for this recall effort. It states, "inappropriate and derogatory remarks in public board meetings, directed towards departmental personnel and other fire board members."

As I sit on the same fire board with Mr. Gooder, I would like to state, for the record, that although Ross may sometimes use questionable language in expressing his views, he has never, to my knowledge, failed to apologize when employees of the fire district objected to what had been said.

In closing, I would ask that all legal voters of the Pine/Strawberry Fire District, look at this recall effort, as just what it is, "A FARCE IN THREE ACTS."

When your ballot arrives in May, please consider the real facts in this recall -- a nine-year, unpaid volunteer board member who has historically looked out for the taxpayer's interests, versus a group of disgruntled fire district employees who have aroused the local voters to ask for this recall.

Forrest McCoy, 13-year resident of Pine

Editor's note: The article mentioned was a brief announcement of the action taken by the Gila County Board of Supervisors approving the recall election. The Roundup contacted Mr. Gooder and offered him an opportunity to provide information to our readers.

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