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Beeson: Krieger decision not made in haste
The 17 allegations against the mayor obtained by the Yuma Sun are listed at the end of this article.
For many Yuma residents, the vote to consider investigating Mayor Al Krieger came as a shock and surprise. But Councilman Cody Beeson said the council did not make the decision in haste.
“We wouldn't be going forward like this if we had not done our due diligence,” Beeson said Thursday. “We have heard a lot of things over the past two years. It's unfortunate for our city, but these are a serious matters. We need to clear the air and work past this in a professional manner.”
The council has been dealing with allegations against Krieger ever since the council's Jan. 4 meeting when former mayor Marilyn Young accused him of having a conflict of interest and abusing his position.
At the next two council meetings where the issue to investigate the mayor was considered, questions were raised that the mayor should have recused himself.
But at both meetings, city attorney Steven Moore declined to comment on whether the mayor's actions constituted a conflict of interest.
Beeson said this lack of information has complicated matters.
“It's really challenging not having a source for answers. (At Wednesday's meeting) procedural things just could not be answered. I would hope that we could at least get somebody that can answer our questions and set the laws straight. The council needs someone to tell us a yes or a no when it comes to these legal issues.”
As for what happens next week if the council votes to open an investigation, Beeson believes it should be turned over to an outside agency.
“This needs to be handled by a professional, non-connected agency so there can be a fair hearing of the evidence because everybody who reads the paper is aware of what's going on down here. It's just like picking a jury. You need people who are going to be unbiased.”
Beeson said the residents of Yuma deserve a fair, unbiased trial so at the end of the day, business can return to normal.
“I'm talking to a lot of people and they don't care which way it turns out. They want it resolved because we are a stable community. And people want to go back to it being that way.”
Here are the 17 allegations against the mayor obtained by the Yuma Sun:
Conflict of Interest
1. Reported to me that pressure was exerted on former City Administrator for City to buy warehouse buildings owned by Mayor. Former City Administrator was moving forward on it until stopped by then Deputy City Administrator.
2. Mayor pulled people into his office to lobby on behalf of prime for Construction contract to look at bid award that his company was a sub under. Deputy City Administrator stopped meetings.
3. Deputy City Administrator was dismissed shortly after these events.
4. Discussions and actions have taken place in public meeting chaired by Mayor in regards to local preference and owner of Company that he works for along with his son.
Open Meeting Law
1. I received phone calls from multiple citizens over an item that was discussed in Executive session. Details from executive session were discussed in violation of open meeting law.
2. During the end of November, City Clerk approached me that she had been directed by Mayor to make 7 copies of the executive session minutes in regards to Riverfront Development discussion, which was held in executive session. This is also a charter violation. Clerk brought it to my attention at which time I directed her not to give him the minutes but we may put it on executive session to discuss. I did not bring the minutes forward at an executive session for review as it may have also been an open meeting law violation.
1. Two people desire to come forward that they were given direct direction from Mayor.
2. During the end of November, Police Chief indicated to me that Mayor had directed him, in violation of City Charter chapter VII section 11, to start up a new program to encourage school students to walk to school. Chief Geier began to work the program but checked with me prior to moving forward. I directed him to cancel the program. YPD budget is extremely strapped and additional tasks that are not part of their or the City mission can’t be taken on at this time. Schools within the City have approximately 28,000 students. County schools are responsible for the safe passage of students to and from the school, not the City. Schools follow very careful planning including bussing distances from school, walking routes and a series of crossing guards. Interfering to ask students to walk to school will put students at risk in addition to putting the City in a position of being responsible for safe movement of students to and from school. The program is ill advised.
3. I was also informed that Mayor had tasked one or two police officers to provide Mayor information and that they would be providing it directly to him. Again, this is a violation of the Charger chapter VII section 11. Concerns on problems caused with Police Department chain of command and redirecting some of their duties.
4. On 11/30/2010 I set up a meeting with two administrative assistants and myself as there was some issue that happened between the two of them. One had withdrawn from the team and the teamwork and attitude that I had established here on the 3rd floor. This teamwork had long been absent from the 3rd floor. I had a desire to not allow the communication breakdown to happen again. One did not show at the meeting and I went to get her and asked her to come in. She said she didn’t want to. After some extended attempts to convince her so we could work through it, I ordered her to go and she refused, stating Mayor told her she didn’t have to go.
5. City Clerk being directed to provide Executive Session copies.
6. Department Director “X” was given direction to provide information to Mayor and told not to tell me.
7. I understand Mayor has had a conversation with more than one member of staff that we don’t follow the Charter or open meeting law.
8. I asked City Administrative person to fill in for short periods in Mayors Office which she did so until Mayor engaged in yelling at her for doing her job as she was directed to do. As a result Administrative person did not do her job. Further she has requested to not work in your office due harassment that took place.
9. At the same time Mayor also started yelling at another employee to not do her primary duties. She chose to ignore Mayor and continued on to perform her duties as instructed. As a result of not having assistance she worked extra hours to accomplish what needed to be done and brought in another City employee to assist.
10. While I was on vacation I was informed that Mayor went into the Clerks and City Administration area and had what was described to me as a temper tantrum and were yelling at people in the area
11. A few weeks ago when an Administrative person returned to work you were sitting in her chair and began to harass her to the point when I arrived at work she was in tears.