Investigation Into Alleged Meeting Violations Ongoing

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After two months, the Gila County Attorney’s Office says it is continuing its investigation into accusations the Town of Star Valley violated the open meeting law.

Deputy county attorney Bryan Chambers said he has no time frame of when the investigation should be completed or what conclusion he will come to, but when he does, he plans to notify the press.

“It is a big deal to someone so we want to make sure we are fair to everyone and do it right,” he said of the investigation.

Star Valley Councilor Gary Coon asked the county attorney’s office to investigate the former town manager’s contract and whether the town had violated the open meeting law during the many changes to his contract over some 20 months.

Then-town manager Vito Tedeschi reportedly had his salary increased by 40 percent during his almost two-year stay with the town. The question is whether any of those increases or the decision to convert him to an independent contractor and then back to town employee was done outside of properly notified meetings and thus violating Arizona’s Open Meeting Law.

Coon alleges 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.

Documents show that many of the pay increases, such as a town council vote on two 3-percent cost-of-living raises, were done at an open meeting, but Heron approved others, like the contractor switch, outside of meetings.

Tedeschi has said because the council gave Heron charge to make any changes to his contract they acted within the law.

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