ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM HORNE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, July 29, 2011
Contact: Amy Rezzonico (602) 542-8019
Attorney General Horne Finds Reasonable Cause to Believe Open Meeting Law Has Been Violated in Quartzsite
PHOENIX (Friday, July 29, 2011) – Tom Horne, Arizona Attorney General, today released partial information regarding the Attorney General’s Office investigation of events in Quartzsite. Horne stated:
“Normally, we do not release the results of an investigation until it has been completed. However, because this is a matter of unusual public interest, we are prepared to say that, based on review of a video of a July 10 meeting, there is reasonable cause to believe that there has been a violation of the Open Meeting Law, inasmuch as the public was excluded. The meeting was held under the misconception that an emergency meeting can be conducted without the public present. Independently of the question of whether the Town Council had a legitimate reason to hold an emergency meeting, even proper emergency meetings must allow the public to be present. The exception is if there is a legitimate basis for an executive session, and the City Council did not attempt to hold a proper executive session during the emergency meeting. The investigation of this and other alleged violations of Open Meeting Laws is ongoing.”
QUARTZSITE, AZ (KPHO) -
It's the small Arizona town getting national attention for all the wrong reasons.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said his office is now investigating allegations of corruption, harassment and secret meetings in the town of Quartzsite, located west of the Valley.
Earlier this month, activist and local newspaper publisher Jennifer Jones was arrested at a public meeting while trying to address the Quartzsite Town Council.
Horne told CBS-5 News Friday that the meeting on July 10, may have been illegal and violated the state's open meeting law.
"If what's involved is an innocent misunderstanding,then probably training is the remedy," said Horne. If there were meetings done deliberately to withhold information from the public, then there's the possibility of people being removed from office."
The AG's office has been flooded with calls and e-mails recently from Quartzsite residents complaining that their town is out of control.
The mayor, town manager, police chief and town council members have all been accused of misusing their power and conducting meetings without public notice.
Horne's office is now investigating all allegations, including some "so called" emergency meetings that may have been held behind closed doors.
Government agencies are required by law to make the public aware of all meetings and provide an opportunity for public comment.
According to Horne, emergency meetings are not exempt from notifying the public.
"Open meeting laws are based on the premise that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if people can see what's going on and participate, we'll get better discussions," said Horne. "If people meet in secret and the public is not there, it violates the law and its our job to enforce it."http://island-adv.com/2011/07/arizona-attorney-general-tom-horne-issues-statement-on-quartzsite-freedom-of-speech-violations/
it even made http://statebrief.com/ !