Supervisor Shirley Dawson has referred the mystery of whether water consultant Harry Jones has a contract with Gila County to the county attorney.
Dawson said Jones forwarded her a packet of material, including a 2003 letter signed by then-supervisor Ron Christensen that designated Jones as the county’s lead on the massive Mogollon Rim Water Resource Management Study, which has still not been completed.
“I did not ever find in this material a signed contract,” Dawson said at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.
She said she forwarded the matter to the county attorney.
“I do not believe any individual person on this board has the authority to contract with someone,” Dawson said.
Jones said he had “valid oral agreements” with various county officials, and that his duties have evolved over time outside of a renewed formal contract, which supervisors have discussed, but never acted.
On June 23, the board tabled a discussion of payments made to Jones, a debate that could culminate in a new contract or a dissolution of the standing agreement. Alternatively, supervisors could again table the topic semi-permanently, as in 2006.
In 2003, then-county manager John Nelson, who was also acting as temporary administrator of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District, signed another agreement with Jones for help managing the district because all of its members had resigned, leaving it in county control, according to county meeting minutes from 2006.
In 2005, supervisors never discussed a drafted, expanded contract that more closely reflects Jones’ current work with the county.
In 2006, supervisors tabled the subject and didn’t discuss it again until last month.