Businessman Blames Supervisor For Meeting

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Ray Pugel

There is an old episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye (Captain Pierce) is being court-martialed for insubordination against Major Burns. After Major Burns presents his diatribe Hawkeye states “to say the least I am sure that’s the way Major Burns sees it. To say the most, it is utterly untrue.” In other words, people may see things the way they want to with disregard for the factual record.

Let’s set the record straight, Supervisor Dawson.

Supervisor Dawson, you and only you were responsible for the workshop circus that was held Tuesday, July 21. It is just like a politician to try and blame others for their own irresponsible actions. Public comment forms were handed out, yet you denied the public a chance to speak. In addition, you did not follow the posted agenda and adjourned the meeting before Supervisors Pastor and Martin were given a chance to comment. So much for transparency in government if you may arbitrarily dictate the end of a meeting and usurp our other elected officials the right to speak.

In paragraph 2 of your letter you state “The board of supervisors’ work session held in Star Valley was the result of Ray Pugel’s persistent requests to have a private audience with each member of the board of supervisors to explain his view of Pine Strawberry water issues.” Thank you for giving me more credit than I deserve, but last time I checked, I had no authority to force the board of supervisors to have a meeting.

My letter of June 30, 2009 states my request for a meeting was to “go over documentation that we have accumulated over the last 13 years.” This documentation has been generated by our personal lawsuit with Brooke Utilities outside of what action the PSWID board has been involved in.

My e-mail to you of July 13, 2009 at 8:51 p.m. states, “these documents had value to the Arizona Corporation Commission so it was assumed they would have value to the elected officials of Gila County.” In addition, my e-mail to you of July 17, 2009 at 4:39 p.m. states “With the exception of the one letter in the documentation that was authored by me, all of the other documents are complete, unedited, authored by others and may be reviewed at face value.

My wife Julie and Jim Hill who attended our meeting will attest that other than the above factual documentation, no opinion was offered by me on the PSWID challenges. The reason for our meeting was not to have a debate, but to offer background information that is in the public domain to an elected official.

In paragraph 2 you state “Ray Pugel’s persistent requests to have a private audience ....” My request was not for a private audience. Private audiences are granted by royalty. My request as stated in my e-mails was for a meeting as a constituent with my elected representative.

In spite of your claim, the meeting turned into an indictment, chaired by you, of the duly elected board of Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District at a time when sensitive negotiations are under way with Brooke Utilities to resolve and correct the water issues in Pine-Strawberry.

In paragraph 6 you state “The people of Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District should address their concerns to that board, and if dissatisfied, express their sentiments at the polls.” Although you state this, it is obvious that you disregard your own advice. First, you chose to have a public meeting that served no purpose on a subject over which you have no authority. Second, if you respected the voters, you would know that the current board was elected by a large majority and second, the cradle of dissent lies in the people who were overwhelmingly recalled from office or did not win election to the PSWID board.

Referring back to paragraph 2 where you try to disassociate yourself from setting up this workshop. On July 6, I e-mailed you and said I would attend a public meeting, if you wished, at a later date after you and others (supervisors) had time to meet with me and digest the documents. I offered to provide a condensed version of what was in the documents to the public at a later time if you requested it, however, on July 6 at 6:39 p.m., July 13 at 12:03 p.m., and again on July 13 at 8:51 p.m., I informed you I did not want to be on your workshop agenda. It would have been prior to my meeting all the supervisors. In addition, in e-mails of July 13, July 14, and July 17, I suggested that you invite in my place Bill Haney, chairman of the PSWID board to give you facts on the PSWID board activities. Nevertheless, in spite of three e-mails stating I had no desire to be at your workshop, my name appeared on your July 21 agenda. So, Supervisor Dawson, you claim the meeting was at my instigation; in light of the above, how is that so? You put my name on the agenda against my wishes. Is this common practice?

In paragraph 9 you refer to transparency and executive session. Supervisor Dawson, an executive session with the other supervisors is not the same as a meeting with a constituent. I believe in getting all the facts out there also. Please recall that in my e-mail to you of July 13, 2009 at 12:03 p.m. I stated to you that any documents provided to you at our meeting may be shared with the public. As far as meeting with the voters, are you telling us you never have face-to-face meetings with your constituents outside of a public meeting to be supplied factual documentation for your review?

On July 22, 2009 at 6:19 p.m. you and the other supervisors were sent an e-mail from Sam Schwalm that stated, “I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present our concerns to you about the Pine-Strawberry water issues. I hope that it provided you with the information you were looking for.” Supervisor Dawson, what information were you looking for? You did not tell me that you were looking for any information.

As I explained to you at the workshop, I represent no one other than myself. If you wanted factual information presented on the situation you should have followed protocol and invited the duly elected representatives of Pine-Strawberry on water issues. That would be the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District. It raises concern that you were purposely meddling in their affairs.

Lastly, we hope that the Pine-Strawberry water issue is soon to be a moot point; however, there are many other communities in Northern Gila County that need help with their water issues. Mesa del Caballo, Geronimo Estates, Whispering Pines, Tonto Village, Flowing Springs and others have all had their challenges with water. It is hoped the county will be there if those communities request assistance and guidance. Is your attempt to remove this assistance a move to disrupt the unity between the northern and southern parts of Gila County? If so, I would beg you to cease your disruptive actions.

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