|Council members vote (Jan. 18th, 2012)|
Yuma City Council members voted Wednesday not to pursue an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Mayor Al Krieger. The allegations were brought forward by former Mayor Marilyn Young at the first call to the public of 2012 on Jan. 8th.
|Public speakers give council opinions|
A large audience turned out for Wednesday's City Council meeting, with the council chamber the fullest it has been since Krieger was inaugurated as mayor two years ago. Many applauded when speakers spoke on behalf of the mayor.
|Accusation and reaction during council meeting|
During call to the public, Marilyn Young, a former Yuma mayor, stated her grievances with current Mayor Al Krieger. Young accused Krieger of conflict of interest, violating the city charter and abusing his position.
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Split vote nixes Yuma mayor investigation
Click here to watch this council meeting from City of Yuma Channel 73
In Other Business:
The council approved a motion to postpone a public hearing and action on a resolution that would extend the existing Yuma North End Redevelopment Area south along 4th Avenue to include the intersection of 4th Avenue and 16th Street.
The council also postponed a resolution that would designate the entire area as a Combined Business District to help revitalize the busy intersection. The measures have been rescheduled for the Feb. 15 council meeting.
A presentation on the proposal has been postponed until the Feb. 14 work session.
By a split vote, the Yuma City Council voted Wednesday not to pursue an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Mayor Al Krieger.
The allegations were made during the call to the public at the council's Jan. 4 meeting by Marilyn Young, a former mayor, who accused Krieger of conflict of interest, violations of the city charter and abuse of his position.
Councilman Jerry Stuart made a motion Wednesday for the council to invoke the powers given it in the city charter to investigate the mayor's conduct and other matters and to seek outside counsel to advise it.
The motion failed by a 4-3 vote, with Councilmen Cody Beeson and Paul Johnson joining Stuart in voting for the motion. Stuart said he wanted the investigation for the sake of transparency and reminded his fellow elected officials that they took an oath with a hand on the Bible to uphold the city charter and other laws.
Johnson said he has personal knowledge of information of conflict of interest by Krieger and felt the public should have the opportunity to hear the charges against Krieger.
In voting against the motion, council members Ed Thomas, Leslie McClendon and Bobbi Brooks expressed concern about incurring the cost to city taxpayers of retaining outside counsel to conduct an investigation based on what they called rumors.
Krieger also cast a no vote to defeat the motion to move forward with the investigation into his conduct. During the meeting, he took a few minutes to respond to Young's allegations, denying any conflict of interest. He also said he had expressed concerns about employee conduct with City Administrator Greg Wilkinson but denied directing Wilkinson to take disciplinary action.
After the meeting, Krieger refused a media request for a print copy of his prepared statement.
The vote came after hearing 10 people speak, all but one of them in support of Krieger, and then recessing to an executive session for half an hour.
A large audience turned out for the meeting, with the council chamber the fullest it has been since Krieger was inaugurated as mayor two years ago. Many applauded when speakers spoke on behalf of the mayor.
Several described Krieger as “honorable” and “honest” and called on the council to “act like adults” and work out their differences behind closed doors. They also described the allegations against Krieger as a “witch hunt” and a “partisan political attack” they said were based on rumors, with no facts produced to back them up.
“I'm appalled by this conduct,” said Harvey Campbell, calling on the council to “work as a team for the best interest of the community.”
A number of speakers also expressed concern that the controversy would hurt efforts to attract new businesses to Yuma, referring to Yuma County's current 23.4 percent unemployment rate.
And more than one speaker likened the controversy to politics in San Luis, Ariz.
“We have an extremely high jobless rate, “ said Cecil Boelts. “We need to bring new business in. One of the first things companies look at is the stability of the city government. If I wanted to live in a city with recalls all the time, I would move to Quartzsite or San Luis.”
John Larkin was the lone speaker who expressed support for an investigation and encouraged the council to move forward with it.
After the meeting, Krieger refused to comment, saying he didn't want to take the issue further.
“It ends here.”
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/jlobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.