By Jennifer R. Carnes
It’s possible that the Mammoth Town Council will be completely different come March.
At the shortened September Mammoth Town Council meeting, Town Clerk Rachelle Sanchez called for a recall election against Councilman Bart Goff and Councilman Robert Koch. The election is set for March 13, 2012.
On the same date, voters will be asked to fill four council seats in the general election. Seats open are those currently held by Mayor Craig Williams, Vice-Mayor Frances Wickham, Councilman Al Barcelo and Councilman Bart Goff.
Recall organizers, the Mammoth Committee for the People, filed recall petitions on July 21, just days before the deadline to file.
Citing Arizona Revised Statute 9-240, the Committee said that Councilmen Goff and Koch has “not (taken) seriously the responsibility of being a town council member.” They have “made decisions that do not represent what is best for the entire town, but only a select few.”
Additionally, the Committee said, “Councilman Koch has on at least one occasion violated Arizona Revised Statute 38-503.”
ARS 9-240 outlines the general powers of the town council. ARS 38-503 addresses conflicts of interest regarding public officials.
Both Koch and Goff have categorically denied the allegations.
“I would like to make clear that my alleged violation of ARS 9-240 General Powers of Common Council is a false statement against me,” wrote Goff in his defensive statement. “I have dutifully served on this council for more than 10 years, and I have never done anything more than serve this community and its best interest. I believe that I have served the citizens of this community with good decision making and voting on issues and projects that are fiscally sound.”
He continued, “As a lifelong resident of this community, I am here to serve this community as a councilman with no agenda but what is in the best interest of our town.”
Koch said the allegations against him are false.
“Firstly,” he wrote in his defensive statement, “I have no family or personal benefit in connection with the Town of Mammoth, or with my duties as a councilman that would violate ARS 38-503 Conflict of Interest. I have supported the town’s welfare through giving and purchasing during a building program and I am committed to community action, education and preservation by substitute teaching and volunteering, as well as performing my councilman duties with honesty, integrity and fairness.”
He continued, “Secondly, the charge of my misuse of entrusted powers as a councilman stated in ARS 9-240 General Powers of Common Council are absolutely false. In my time on the council, I have helped with the long awaited changes, for the future of Mammoth businesses and its citizens through support of sound fiscal, procedural and economic growth, that were often held back by council members who were not forward thinking.”
Mammoth Town Clerk Rachelle Sanchez explained that the election was called for March 13, 2012, and not November 8, 2011, because of when the petitions were submitted to her office. Pinal County Elections Director Steve Kizer confirmed that the latest date for petitions to be submitted that would have guaranteed a November election would have been May 10.
Mammoth residents wishing to run in the Recall Election against Koch and Goff can pick up a nomination packet at the Mammoth Town Hall. Completed forms must be submitted between December 14, 2011 and January 13, 2012.
The recall election will have a fiscal impact on the Town of Mammoth’s budget, although it will be minimized somewhat with the addition of the general election. Two ballots will need to be printed, Sanchez said. Budgeted for the two elections is $16,000: $10,000 for the recall election and $6,000 for the general election.
A description of ARS 9-240 and ARS 38-503 can be found online at http://www.azleg.gov.