The Gila County Attorney’s Office is continuing its investigation into accusations of several open meeting law violations by the Town of Star Valley.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Bryan Chambers said he is actively looking into the case and hopes to conclude the investigation in the next month or so.
“Other than that, I cannot really comment on an ongoing investigation,” Chambers said Monday.
Chambers’ office received an allegation from someone that Star Valley violated the open meeting law several times since 2007 when making revisions to former town manager Vito Tedeschi’s employment contract outside of a properly noticed open meeting.
Under Arizona’s open meetings law, all meetings of a public body to propose or take legal action shall be public meetings, and all persons are permitted to attend such meetings.
“An elected body can violate the open meeting law and anyone that assists is violating the open meeting law,” Chambers said.
The allegations sent to the county attorney suggest that then-Star Valley mayor Chuck Heron negotiated and approved many of the increases directly with Tedeschi, without full council involvement and without properly listing the contract changes on a public meeting agenda.
These included cost of living increases during the 20 months of Tedeschi’s employment and extra fees for administering the system for speeding tickets generated by the photo enforcement cameras.
Tedeschi also changed from being classified as a town employee to an independent contractor and back again, with increases in his contract at each step.
Tedeschi said the town council approved all changes made to his contract, either by voting to direct Heron to negotiate the terms or by approving the contract changes at a public meeting.