Mammoth Council meeting heats up, councilman ejected

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The new members of the Mammoth Planning and Zoning Commission are Debora Foster and Regina Medina. (John Hernandez photo)

By John Hernandez

A special meeting of the Mammoth Town Council was held last Thursday. For the first time in a while, the entire board was present for the meeting although that did not last long.

During the call to the public, Clifford Deathrage handed out a copy of letter from Sheriff Paul Babeu to Rachelle Sanchez with cost estimates for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement coverage for the Town of Mammoth. Deathrage said that he had brought the issue up at a previous meeting that former Mayor Craig Williams and Rachel Sanchez were trying to get rid of the Mammoth Police Department. He had heard that last week council member Larry Ramirez had called him a liar and now he was providing proof and would like an apology.

Councilman Williams responded later in the meeting that the correspondence was to see what it would cost the town if they had to bring in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Williams explained that it was agreed to at a council meeting and he had suggested that they look into other agencies as a contingency plan. It was just a suggestion and they looked at the proposal. At the time Mammoth was having trouble within their police force.

Another member of the public questioned why they were amending/revising the personnel policy on drug testing. Were they suspending the testing? Mayor Alvaro Barcelo explained that they were not stopping the drug testing but including new council members to be tested.

“If every employee has to do it,” the mayor said, “we have to be held to the same standards.”

Another member of the public spoke out and accused the Mayor and board of “nepotism” saying there were two brothers and their uncle on the board referring to the Alvaro and Juan Barcelo and Joe Tamayo. He also questioned why they were calling so many special meetings and asked for some answers.

Mayor Barcelo said they did not have to answer the questions.

Councilman Larry Ramirez then said that by law they were supposed to respond to questions, citing ARS 38-431.01. Mayor Barcelo and Councilman Ramirez then got into a slightly heated argument over the statute. Mayor Barcelo threatened to charge Ramirez with misconduct. Councilman Ramirez told the mayor that “if you are going to fire people without cause, then I am leaving.” Ramirez then walked out of the meeting and did not return.

Following the call to the public, the council went into an executive (secret) session to meet with their attorney for advice.

When the council returned, Williams made a motion to reinstate Rachelle Sanchez as town manager/town clerk.

No one seconded the motion.

Sanchez was placed on administrative leave on Monday, April 23, by the mayor. No explanation was given for this action.

Vice-Mayor Wickham then made a motion to appoint Betty Chavez to investigate the suspension of the Town Manager/Clerk after first suggesting that Mammoth Police Officer Marty McIntosh be appointed as investigator. Town Attorney Tresa Georgini objected to that appointment.

Williams requested a discussion on the motion to appoint Chavez and questioned how Chavez came to be at the meeting since he had never seen her at one before. She responded that she had been at the last six meetings which drew some laughter from the audience. Williams then asked her about her background. Chavez explained how she works for Adelante Juntos which serves the entire Tri-Community and surrounding areas. The motion to approve her as the investigator passed with five yes votes and Williams voting no.

A motion to install interim Town Manager/Clerk Patsy Large to the election committee was made. Craig Williams requested to put on the record that Patsy Large’s sister is also on the election committee. The motion passed five to one with Williams voting no.

You can view much of the Mammoth Town Council meeting on the Miner website: www.copperarea.com.

 

Video Links:

Mammoth Council Meeting Part 1

 

Mammoth Council Meeting Part 2

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