Dec 042013

By Nick Worth
Following a Nov. 26 executive session lasting more than two hours, the Holbrook City Council returned to the council chambers and Mayor Jeff Hill read a brief statement announcing the results of an investigation into alleged personnel violations by City Manager Ray Alley.
“The personnel investigation has been completed and while we found some instances where the personnel handbook was not followed, there is no indication of criminal activity,” Hill read. He then spoke on speaker-phone to City Attorney Marlene Pontrelli of the Dickinson Wright Mariscal Weeks law firm and asked her to verify the statement, which she did.
Alley and City Clerk Cher Reyes were in the executive session along with the full council.
At a call to the public afterward, Leo Maestas addressed the council.
“I can’t help but feel I witnessed the most egregious violations of the open meeting law I have ever seen,” said Maestas. “Ray Alley was in the meeting (executive session), and I will refer this to the proper state and federal authorities. That’s the same as a grand jury meeting for an indictment with the accused in the room.”
Hill acknowledged Maestas’ statement and thanked him for attending the meeting.
After the meeting, Hill told The Tribune-News, “I want to make a personal statement. We conducted an investigation into all of the allegations made against Ray Alley and there is absolutely nothing criminal involved in any of it. Ray is a city manager the city can stand behind.”
In other action, the council:
* Heard a report from Alley that city crews are still crack-sealing on Spurlock Drive and plan to move down the hill to Iowa Street. He said crews have also been busy cleaning alleys throughout the town, replacing the six-foot chain link fence around the water tanks and will be starting to hang up Christmas decorations on Monday, Dec. 2.
Alley also said the engineer for the new Holiday Inn Express to be built on Navajo Blvd. is going to send him the preliminary drainage plans for the hotel, and that Tesla Motors has re-submitted its charging station plans, which needed to be changed to avoid utility lines.
* Heard a report from Police Chief Mark Jackson that his department has replaced all of the chain link fencing at the animal control pound.
Jackson also said his office has received five or six applications for the newly created, part-time evidence technician position. He further noted that he requested federal grant money for a commercial van for evidence storage and transport, and that the grant was approved.
Finally, Jackson reported he had received four applications for police officers. Three of the applicants passed the initial test and will undergo further testing before being sent to the police academy.
* Approved sending Councilman Wade Carlisle to the Arizona Rural Transportation Summit to be held in January in Prescott.
Carlisle noted that legislators will be at the meeting and delegates will be asking for the return of Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) money that has been cut back in recent years.
* Approved claims payments for $29,801.85.
* Approved a claims payment for Walt’s Hardware for $590.77.
* Approved the cancellation of the regular Dec. 24 council meeting. Carlisle cast a dissenting vote on dropping the meeting.