Former Cfo Questions Practices Of Mayor, Council

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Illegal meetings, unethical replacement of town employees and questionable hiring practices are among the accusations against Payson Mayor Bob Edwards and the town council.

Former Chief Fiscal Officer Glenn Smith said he felt compelled to address the issue, in light of the recent activity within the town's employment hierarchy.

Glenn Smith, who was an employee of the town for more than 10 years before retiring in June, said in a letter to the Roundup that Edwards is "in the process of systematically restructuring the management staff to his liking."

Glenn Smith questioned recent council action, including the reasons behind the resignation of town manager Fred Carpenter, the abolition of the director position in the human resources department, which was held by Bob Smith, and the rapid bestowal of authority on Debi Galbraith.

Glenn Smith is Bob Smith's father.

"I got concerned when Fred got dismissed," he said. "Fred has been quieted. I don't have to do that."

"You don't wait six, seven or eight months to hire a town manager, a key position, and give it to someone who has no experience. Who else can run it, but the mayor?" he added.

Glenn Smith also said he suspects town council members held an illegal meeting during the recent 2007 League of Cities meeting. Edwards said the town posted a meeting notice, prior to the League of Cities convention.

Councilors Andy Romance and Mike Vogel would not confirm nor deny that unethical actions had taken place in the recent series of departmental adjustments.

Romance admitted, however, that he has an inquiring mind regarding Carpenter's retirement.

"I am kind of along with the public," he said. "If someone retires, why do they get a severance pay? It doesn't sound like a typical retirement."

"I don't believe that change for the sake of change is good," he added.

Vogel said he believes Galbraith is doing a good job.

"I think if everyone who's concerned waits until February, they'll see improvement," he said.

Edwards denied that he has an agenda relating to the departure of town employees.

"His letter was wrong," Edwards said of Glenn Smith's accusations.

"It's not my style to have a ‘hit-list' of employees. If the council and I determine that something wasn't working right, it's our job to try and fix it."

Edwards said the recent reorganization of town employees and departments was done for "better organization."

"I came in with a promise to the people to put the town government on a businesslike direction and I think we're doing that."

A Sept. 20 council decision abolished Bob Smith's human resources director position. As part of the resolution and agreement, he is to work with the town until March 2008.

"The mayor and a council member came in on Friday, they made an offer to continue my employment and pay me out five months, if I was gone by the end of the day," Smith said.

"I was given a letter that said I'd be working from home with benefits, as of that date (Friday)."

Bob Smith said he assumed he would be working at town hall and helping Galbraith transition into the HR duties.

"Here's your offer," he said of the severance agreement he was presented and that he signed. "Again, they didn't ask."

Bob Smith said he was told, "We don't think it's best that you're here.

"I don't know what they would've done, if I didn't take the offer," he said. "I didn't want to find out."

When asked if he knew of any other departments in danger of the chopping block, Edwards said he "didn't think so."

Vogel echoed Edwards' comments.

"I don't think there is going to be any more reorganization," he said. "I look at it as making the department heads more responsible. Most of them have been very good, but some of them have dragged their feet on some policies. Some are really lacking. They aren't doing what the council wants."

Calls to Galbraith were not returned in time for this story.

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