The Emergency that Warranted an Emergency Meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council

The Emergency that Warranted an Emergency Meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 14, 2011

 

On July 10, 2011, the Quartzsite Town Council held an Emergency Meeting (see Illegal Town Council meeting in Quartzsite, Arizona).  The minutes of that meeting have been found (transcription of minutes and PDF links of minutes at bottom of this article) and show that the Council took 6 actions at that meeting:

First, they declare that there was an emergency “requiring the Council to meet without prior public notice”, though the “emergency is not stated within that declaration.  Reference is made to A.R.S. (Arizona Revised Statutes) 38-341.02(D) – Notice of Meetings, which states:

D. In case of an actual emergency, a meeting, including an executive session, may be held on such notice as is appropriate to the circumstances.  If this subsection is utilized for conduct of an emergency session or the consideration of an emergency measure at a previously scheduled meeting the public body must post a public notice within twenty-four hours declaring that an emergency session has been held and setting forth the information required in subsections H and I of this section.

***

H. Agendas required under this section shall list the specific matters to be discussed, considered, or decided at the meeting.  The public body may discuss, consider, or make decisions only on matters listed on the agenda and other matters related thereto.

I. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, notice of executive sessions shall be required to include only a general description of the matters to be considered.  The agenda shall provide more than just a recital of the statutory provisions authorizing the executive session, but need not contain information that would defeat the purpose of the executive session, compromise the legitimate privacy interests of a public officer, appointee or employee or compromise the attorney-client privilege.

We have not been able to obtain a copy of the Agenda required, and, in a conversation with Mayor Foster, he was not aware of the meeting until the police arrived at his door, shortly before the meeting began.

Next, they suspended “Town Council Procedure Policy Section III.1, setting regular Council meetings for second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m., until the second Tuesday in September or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances[sic] no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointed town officials.”

So, here, we begin to understand the nature of the “emergency”; “emergent circumstances … which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointed town officials.”

Then, they suspended both the “Citizen’s Comments” and the “call to the public” provisions of the Town Council Procedure Policy.  They have disallowed any public comment at the meetings.

Now, they will proceed to change the meeting from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., as if this will cure the problem, or reduce the threat.

At this point, we must wonder if we have alleviated any threat that creates “an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointed town officials.”  Based upon the actions, the threat either comes from having the meetings in the evening, when working people are more easily able to attend, or, they fear that what the public has to say creates a threat, by their very words.

So, just how does this constitute an emergency?  How does this provide protection to the public and/or officials?  Is there any logical reasoning behind these decisions, at all?

So, let us continue.  The next act is “to direct Town Manager and Chief of Police to implement procedures to ensure the safety of public attendees at future Council meetings.”  This is, to say the least, a bit ambiguous, and, perhaps, quite broad in its scope.  It might cause us to wonder what “procedures” might be necessary to “ensure the safety of public attendees” at Council meetings.  Since the public forum has been closed, we can only surmise that arresting any of the public who try to speak at a Town Council meeting would be all that can be derived from the decisions made at this “emergency meeting”.

In a final act of gracious consideration to the Town staff, they move the next Tuesday’s meeting to 10:00 a.m. to allow staff to properly prepare the required 24-hour notice.

Darn, now I have more questions than I had before I was able to read the minutes of the secret meeting.

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Transcription from the PDF images of the July 10, 2011, Quartzsite Town Council meeting:

PUBLIC NOTICE
EMERGENCY MEETING

Notice of Emergency Meeting

Town of Quartzsite Common Council

Sunday, July 10, 2011 11:45 a.m.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH TOWN CODE SECTION 2-4-1 AND ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES SECTION § 38-431.02.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE QUARTZSITE COMMON COUNCIL AND TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA, DID HOLD AN EMERGENCY MEETING ON SUNDAY, JULY 10 AT 11:45 AM.  AT THE QUARTZSITE MUNICIPAL CENTER, 465 N. PLYMOUTH AVE., 1/4 MILE NORTH OF MAIN STREET (B-10).  SEE MINUTES WHICH ARE ATTACHED HERETO AND INCORPORATED HEREIN.  MEMBERS OF THE COMMON COUNCIL ATTENDED IN PERSON.

/s/ Karen Norris        
Karen Norris, Town Clerk  

DATE POSTED:     July 11, 2011

TIME POSTED:       Noon

COUNCIL MAY NOT ACT ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA

{page 2}

MINUTES

TOWN OF QUARTZSITE
EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE COMMON COUNCIL
SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2011 11:45 AM

CALL TO ORDER:    Vice Mayor Cowell 11:45 a.m.

ROLL CALL: Vice Mayor Cowell, Council Members Anderson, Kelley, Lukkasson and Winslow

ABSENT: Mayor Foster

STAFF PRESENT: Town Manager Alex Taft, Town Attorney Brannan, Town Clerk Karen Norris, Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson and Police Chief Jeff Gilbert.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Council Member Winslow motioned to approve the agenda as written.  Motion seconded by Council Member Lukkasson.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

REPORTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Report from Town Manager and Chief of Police concerning emergent circumstances involving an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive town officers.

Mayor Foster arrives during the reports and refused to come into the meeting at 11:57 a.m.

NEW BUSINESS:
1. Declare the existence of an emergency requiring Council to meet without prior public notice pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.02(D).

Council Member Lukkasson motioned to declare the existence of an emergency requiring the Council to meet without prior public notice pursuant to A.R.S. 38-431.02(D).  Motion seconded by Council Member Kelley.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

2. Suspend Town Council Procedure Policy Section III.1, setting regular Council meetings for second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m., until [date] or until two-thirds of the Council determines that emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive town officials, whichever occurs first.

Council Member Anderson motioned to suspend Town Council Procedure Policy Section III.1, setting regular Council meetings for second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m., until the second Tuesday in September or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive town officials.

{possible missing text in PDF file}

{page 3}

whichever occurs first.  Motion seconded by Council Member Lukkasson.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

3. Suspend that portion of Town Council Procedure Policy Section V.1 relating to placing “CITIZENS COMMENTS” (call to the public) in the Order of Business and Agenda until [DATE] or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.

Council Member Kelley motioned to Suspend that portion of Town Council Procedure Policy Section V.1 relating to placing “CITIZENS COMMENTS” (call to the public) in the Order of Business and Agenda until the second meeting in September or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.  Motion seconded by Council Member Winslow.  Town Manager Taft asks Council Member Kelley to clarify which date in September, Council Member Kelley stated he wanted the same date as the previous motion, which is the second Tuesday in September.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

4. Suspend that portion of Town Council Procedure Policy Section VII.1 setting forth procedures for “call to the public,” until [DATE] or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.

Council Member Kelley motioned to suspend Town Council Procedure Policy Section VII.1, setting forth procedures for “call to the public,” until the second meeting in September or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.  Motion seconded by Council Member Winslow.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

5. Schedule regular Town Council Meeting for [dates and times] until [DATE] or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.

Council Member Lukkasson motioned to schedule regular Town Council Meeting for 9:00 a.m. on normal meeting Tuesdays until the second Tuesday in September or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elective and appointive officials, whichever occurs first.  Motion seconded by Council Member Winslow.  Discussion regarding this next coming up meeting.  Need to give 24 hour notice of that meeting.  Council Member Lukkasson amends his motion to state this coming Tuesdays meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. to give staff an opportunity to distribute the notice.  Council Member Winslow seconds the amendment.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote on the amendment.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  AMENDMENT

{page 4}

CARRIED.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote on the original motion.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

6. Direct Town Manager and Chief of Police to implement procedures to ensure the safety of public attendees at future Council meetings.

Council Member Kelley motioned to direct Town Manager and Chief of Police to implement procedures to ensure the safety of public attendees at future Council meetings.  Motion seconded by Council Member Lukkasson.  Vice Mayor Cowell calls for the vote on the amendment.  Vote — 5 in favor, 1 member absent and 1 vacancy.  MOTION CARRIED.

ADJOURNMENT:
12:41 p.m.

CERTIFICATION:
I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the Emergency Meeting of the Town Council of Quartzsite, Arizona, held on the 10th day of July 2011.
I further certify that the meeting was duly called by emergency and held and that a quorum was present.
DATED this 12th day of July 2011.

{unsigned}      
Karen Norris, Town Clerk

APPROVED:

{unsigned}
Ed Foster, Mayor

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PDF images of the minutes:

Page 1 – Notice

Page 2 – minutes

Page 3 – minute

Page 4 – minutes

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3 Responses to “The Emergency that Warranted an Emergency Meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council”

  1. I will be reposting your article in its entirety, with a minimum of comment, on the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots web site at http://phoenixteaparty.ning.com/ on my blog page there, and on my own blog, Patriot HQ, at http://www.patriothq.com

    As near as I can determine, the supposed “emergency” didn’t arise until Mayor Ed Foster told the council that a team was on the way to attend the July 12 council meeting where the Mayor declared an illegal meeting and walked out. This team consisted of Kelly Townsend, who is one of the founders of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, myself, a board member of the GPTPP and chapter head of the Sons of Liberty in Arizona(not related to the Sons of Liberty Riders, though we do cooperate with that group), my wife, a member of the GPTPP, and another member of our group. Accompanying us on the trip were a woman known in Arizona as Angry Right Wing Housewife, who runs the Cave Creek Patriots tea party, three young Ron Paul supporters, and an Arizona representative of the Oathkeepers.

    Apparently the main thrust of the emergency seems to have been basically that, “the tea party is coming to town”, more or less. This last Saturday, Mayor Foster addressed a board meeting of the Greater Phoenix TPP, along with Jennifer Jones. We have formed a tea party group for Quartzsite under our banner in the Greater Phoenix and are offering support in the form of organizing advice, strategy planning, and tips on methods that have worked for us in the past in dealing with various issues of this type.

    It is an excellent first start that we have under way, along with what the citizens of Quartzsite have done so far. And in the end it will be for the citizens of Quartzsite to do the heavy lifting. Oathkeepers, Cave Creek Patriots and the Ron Paul group in Arizona deserve much credit for joining in this effort as well. Along the way, many others in the Constitutional movement, such as your fine work here, Alex Jones, the FOX News and east coast newspaper exposure, various tea party sites and blogs in Arizona and across the country, and individual activists on Facebook and across the web are starting to dent the armor of this abusive town council. Eventually this sort of machine is bound to crumble under its own weight without the support of the citizenry they are attempting to subjugate and control.

    Thank you for your efforts to assist these fine people. Everyone who has helped should be commended. I am calling for a gathering of the Patriot Faithful sometime in the next couple of months to make a show of support for the people of Quartzsite, to demonstrate materially to them, their town council, and the world at large that they are no longer operating in the dark. I’d like to see tea party folks, civil liberty activists, Ron Paul supporters, SOL Riders, RidersUSA, Oathkeepers, and plenty of plain ol’ patriots out there come time to march. Watch the Arizona tea party sites such as the Greater Phoenix TPP for information on time and place for such a gathering.

  2. Quartzsite Emergency Meeting- Town Council Minutes | Patriot HQ says:

    […] From the “Outpost of Freedom” blog: […]

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