Stuart: Mayor must be investigated
Yuma Councilman Jerry Stuart says Mayor Al Krieger's actions over the past two years left the city council with no choice but to open an investigation.
“I and my fellow council members take an oath,” Stuart said. “We have an absolute legal obligation to follow it or we can be held as accomplices.”
Stuart said while he is not certain what shape the investigation will take, it is necessary to examine the charges against the mayor.
“We have been hearing things for quite a long time now. Even though it's an onerous task, this investigation must occur.”
The vote on the investigation stemmed from former mayor Marilyn Young's comment during the call to the public at Wednesday's council meeting.
“I've been concerned for a period of time. This just didn't pop up,” Young said. “We need our mayor and council to work together on what's best for our city. But they can't with this amount of turmoil.”
While many allegations have been levied against the mayor, Young said one of the most serious is the mayor's failure to recuse himself when business he is involved with comes before the council.
Young cited the November council meeting where Troy Eckhardt of Eckhardt Construction was allowed to speak on local preference for approximately 15 minutes during the call to public and the mayor never recused himself.
“(Krieger) overstepped his bounds,” she said. “He is employed by Eckhardt Construction. I don't care how loosely he claims to be employed there. The term ‘consultant' is very vague. He should have excused himself immediately when Eckhardt spoke.”
Young added that the mayor also did not recuse himself when the issue of a new road near Avenue 3E and 40th Street came before the council. “He allowed people to speak about this land deal, which involved his property, before the council and he should have excused himself that time as well.”
Young said she believes Wednesday's motion to investigate the mayor was a critical step for the city to start fixing some of its problems.
“I was glad (Councilman) Stuart came forward, because we need to get this open and above board and do it properly so we can get it behind and we can move forward.”
Now that the investigation has been placed on the next council agenda, the city has to determine what to do, but no one can recall a precedent where a sitting council member was investigated in Yuma.
“I've never been involved in anything like this before,” said City Administrator Greg Wilkinson. “At this point the council just voted to discuss, and possibly take action, on this investigation at the next meeting. Right now, we are just researching and answering any questions individual council members might have. We can't do anything yet, since the council hasn't voted on the investigation.”