By Nick Worth
A plan to route all public access to the Navajo County administration offices through the court wing of the Holbrook complex was approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
In a power point presentation, Public Works Director Homero Vela told the board there is currently no security for the administration offices at the county complex and that the proposed plan would allow for consistent security control.
“If we route the public through the court entrance, the existing personnel can provide security for the court and the main Holbrook complex,” Vela told the board.
“We would use existing staff, so no additional personnel would be needed,” Vela said. “Building modifications, for the most part, can be accomplished by our facilities management team.”
Vela said the existing complex services entrance would be used for all public access during the one to two weeks of construction, and signs would be clearly posted both during the transition and after. He said the planned modifications to the building entrances would begin on Nov. 4.
According to Vela, two false walls could be removed and a doorway added to enlarge the security screening station area that is already in place at the courts. The current public entrance would then be converted for county employees only who have security cards.
District III Supervisor Sylvia Allen asked Vela how much more it would cost the county to put in a metal detector and security personnel in the present entrance. Vela estimated three new employees would have to be hired and said the cost of the equipment would have to be researched.
County Manager James Jayne said the cost of the scanning equipment would be fairly substantial.
Allen then noted a member of the public, Terry Hill of Show Low, was showing signs of disapproval and asked that he be allowed to address the board.
“Why is security needed?” Hill asked the board. He also noted the changes would make it difficult for people in wheelchairs and those pushing them to enter the county complex.
“The public needs access to the assessor’s office and the treasurer’s office,” Hill told the board.
District IV Supervisor David Tenney said security is needed for the courts, more so than for the administration offices. He told Hill that according to the plan, the public would have to enter the complex through the court, but could exit the complex at any of the doors, including the ones for employee use only.
Allen also noted security could be a concern for the Board of Supervisors meetings.
“That officer over there doesn’t know if you have a gun,” Allen said, indicating the sheriff’s deputy in attendance. “People could be carrying in this room and we wouldn’t know it. When the board has hot button items on the agenda people get angry. It’s happened in the Valley.”
The board approved the proposed change to the public access.
In other action Oct. 22, the board:
* Heard a report on the White Mountain Trail system from Nick Lund, president of Tracks, during the call to the public.
Lund told the supervisors the trail system encompasses more than 200 miles of trails in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and is a major economic factor in the White Mountains.
He noted that previously, when someone became lost or hurt on the trail system and would call for help, they would often not know their location. Search and rescue efforts would then involve many officers and would take hours.
He said this past summer Tracks members put up new trail marker diamonds approximately every quarter-mile, with a total of 1,500 of them on the 200-plus miles. Each marker has a code and its position recorded by GPS. The GPS coordinates for each marker were then distributed to every emergency service in the area.
“Now if they call in they provide the code on the diamond,” Lund said. “This past September three successful rescues took place and each of them only took 45 minutes.”
Lund noted the coded diamonds are a public safety improvement which has already proven itself successful.
* Approved the Apache and Navajo Counties Mayors and Councilmembers Association articles of association.
* Approved a $6,492.50 contract with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for capital equipment for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program.
* Approved a $10,000 contract with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for overtime for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program.
* Approved a $10,000 contract with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for overtime to support and enhance the Impaired Driver/DUI Enforcement Program.
* Approved an $8,665 contract with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for capital equipment to support and enhance the Impaired Driver/DUI Enforcement Program.
* Appointed Ron Solomon to fill a vacancy on the Silver Creek Flood Protection District Board.
* Approved a letter to the Arizona Department of Transportation Enforcement and Compliance Division for the county attorney’s office.
* Approved a sympathy letter to Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson.
* Recognized Deputies Connor Francis and Don Griffiths for their heroic actions on Oct. 2.
“While driving in the Pinetop-Lakeside area an accident occurred right in front of them, and an Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist wrecked his vehicle,” said Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark. He said the victim was unconscious and the two deputies could discover no heartbeat. They performed chest compressions on the victim and saved his life.
“Both of these deputies are assets to the citizens of Navajo County,” Clark said.
* Recognized Deputy Asher Davis for receiving the MADD DUI Officer of the Year Award.
“Deputy Davis made 16 DUI arrests during the past year,” Clark noted. “A few years ago the entire Navajo County Sheriff’s Office didn’t make that many DUI arrests in a year.”
* Made a presentation to retiring employee David Burke.
* Made a presentation to Deputy County Attorney Jason Moore for his accomplishment at the 18th Annual Tour of the White Mountains.
* Heard a request for funds for the Miss Navajo County Scholarship Pageant Fund from Rachele Baldwin.
She was advised to meet with Clerk of the Board Melissa Buckley to go over the process to make a formal request for the funds. No action will be taken until that request is received and reviewed.
The board also heard presentations from 2013 Miss Navajo County Shannon Willis and 2014 Miss Outstanding Teen Haylee Farr. Willis told the board of her efforts throughout the previous year to raise awareness of alcohol abuse, and Farr told of her platform to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
* Approved an amended addendum to the June 30, 2010, memorandum of understanding for Mexican wolf conservation.
* Approved amendment No. 1 to the construction manager-at-risk contract for the new public works complex with Haydon Building Corporation.
* Approved personnel actions.
Acting as the Navajo County Public Health Services District Board of Directors, the board:
* Approved an amendment to a continuing contract with the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board for a child care health consultant program for Navajo and Apache Counties, Navajo Nation, White Mountain Apache and San Carlos regions for $64,246 from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, 2014.
Acting as the Navajo County Flood Control District Board of Directors, the board:
* Approved a letter of invitation to Colonel Kimberly M. Colloton, the newly appointed commander of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to visit the Winslow Levee.
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By Nick Worth