Tommie Martin flexed her muscles at the June 18 county supervisors meeting to block the reappointment of several members of the county’s Industrial Development Authority.
Up for reappointment: Fred Barcon, who is the IDA chair, William Byrne, Gerald Kohlbeck and Mickie Nye.
“How did these names get on the agenda for recommendation for reappointment? I didn’t make them. Did you (the other two supervisors)? Did staff? Did the IDA?” Martin asked.
“Where did these recommendations come from and how did they get on the agenda?” she repeated.
She said appointing people to boards and commissions remains a crucial responsibility of the supervisors. Moreover, she expressed concerns about the IDA’s lack of activity since 2010.
The IDA issues bonds to provide capital improvements to lure job-producing businesses to the county, said Cliff Potts, currently the only Northern Gila County representative on the IDA. The IDA has accumulated a pool of about $300,000 for projects. The great majority of projects funded in recent years have been in the Globe area and the IDA has spent about $600,000, including about $125,000 in attorney fees.
Frustrated by the lack of help for projects in the north, Martin sharply questioned the recommended appointments.
“Have we abdicated something we should be doing? In the past we made the recommendations to assure equal representation,” Martin said.
County Manager Don McDaniel said state law requires the board to make the appointments, however, the IDA operates independently. McDaniel said the recommendations came from the following sources:
• William Long, IDA vice president, submitted a letter to (county supervisors) Chairman Michael Pastor on April 24, 2013, requesting the reappointment of Fred Barcon and Gerald (Gerry) Kohlbeck to the IDA Board of Directors for another six-year term of office.
• Sandy Palmer, IDA administrative manager, on behalf of the IDA Board of Directors, submitted an e-mail to the clerk of the board of April 25, 2013, requesting the reappointment of William A. Byrne and Mickie Nye for another six-year term of office.
McDaniel added the IDA board may have up to a maximum of nine members and there is an unwritten policy that each supervisor recommends three.
“It appears to have evolved into a self-appointing board like the fair commission,” Martin said.
Pastor suggested the board discuss the appointment process for the record and then proceed with the recommendations. District 3 Supervisor John Marcanti agreed.
“We need to bring thoughtfulness (to the process),” Martin said, and then added she would like to reserve the right to recommend appointments for (her) District 1 at one time.
Currently, Martin’s district has two representatives — Barcon and Cliff Potts. Ray Pugel also represented District 1 on the IDA, but recently resigned.
Representing District 2 are Gerald Kohlbeck and Mark Marcanti. Marcanti has resigned and the third seat for District 2 is vacant. District 3 representatives are William Long, William Byrne and Mickie Nye.
The board of supervisors took no action on the recommended appointments, but encouraged interested residents to apply. Northern Gila County residents may submit directly at Martin’s office at 610 E. Highway 260 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or gilacountyaz.gov.
Martin also criticized the lack of economic development activity by the IDA since the death of county manager Steve Besich in January 2010. The IDA was created to help the financially precarious Asarco Mine get a better bond rating. In return Asarco was to provide seed money of about $1 million to jump-start the IDA’s effort to promote economic development countywide. Asarco went bankrupt and so the county ended up getting only about $400,000 in the settlement, Martin said.
The IDA can issue bonds to provide capital improvements to lure industry to the county, said Potts, currently the only Northern Gila County representative on the IDA.
The IDA gets a stipend every time it issues bonds and currently has reserves of about $300,000. The IDA can make real-estate secured loans and outright grants.
While guided by Besich, the IDA contributed $145,000 to the area’s community college system, including $45,000 for the nursing program in 2007 and $15,000 for the cosmetology program in 2008; it has also given money for “cultural” projects: $60,000 to the Signal Peak Foundation for youth of Globe in 2008, and $5,000 to the Copper Spike Train of Globe in 2009. Since Besich’s death, the IDA gave $15,000 for a cyber café in Hayden-Winkelman in 2010, $5,000 for a Mine Park at Old Dominion Mine in 2011, $5,000 to the Bullion Plaza Museum for the Rose Mofford and Slavic rooms in 2012, and $16,000 to Pine-Strawberry for the Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race in 2012.
An unidentified “sanitation group” got $45,000 for a waste water study (date and place not specified); the Town of Miami received $15,000 for a computer system (date not in information provided); $5,000 was paid for a Pine-Strawberry waste water study; and $10,000 was paid for Miami sewer work in 2009.
The IDA, from February 2006 through mid-August 2010 has paid $123,344 in attorney fees.
Most recently, the IDA paid an attorney to help the hospital in Globe with an expansion project. Potts said if the hospital doesn’t actually go through the IDA, the IDA may try to recover fees.
The IDA’s report to the county shows income of $682,733 from mid January 2006 to mid August 2010 and expenses of $591,217. The revenue for that period includes $45,000 payments from the county in January 2006, October 2006, September 2007 and November 2008.