Many of you know that I submitted a letter of resignation in December 2013 with intentions of leaving the Town’s employment. Although at least four Council Members asked that I continue as Town Clerk/acting Town Manager, I have not withdrawn my resignation but will consider one day at a time. Because I have nothing to lose or gain by coming forward with information essential to the Town’s residents in light of the impending recall election, and because my husband and I will always be very proud to call Mammoth our home town, here are a few facts that should be considered:
1) After placing the former Town Clerk/Manager on paid administrative leave in July 2012, I was contacted by Councilwoman Frances Wickham, requesting that I report to work within an hour or two of our conversation. I was not seeking employment when she called; I was not involved in the politics. I did not want to be, and still do not want to be. I accepted Councilwoman Wickham’s request because I care about Mammoth and felt this was an opportunity to prove those wrong that treated me unfairly at the end of my last tenure with the Town.
2) Councilman Brewer continues to speak of a “transparency” issue that is clearly misunderstood. There has been no attempt to hide any business that the Town conducts. The books, financial statements, checking information, purchasing and expenditures are open for public inspection. There is a process and procedure that must be followed, but all Mammoth residents have the right to this information.
3) An Alaskan resident living in Mammoth alleged that the “State Procurement Purchasing Policy” had not been followed in a paving issue. This allegation is unfounded: not only was the policy followed, the legal opinion from the Town’s attorney was also obtained.
4) The forensic audit that was discussed shortly after I was asked to work, as a temporary employee, is an issue that needs explanation. As I have stated in the past, I do not believe that there are missing monies but money was spent inappropriately. For example, the Highway User Revenue Fund money can only be expended for specific uses. If there were a “shortage” in the general fund, money may have been expended from this fund unintentionally, and without realizing that it had been done. Although Mammoth is not the only city or town that has done this, the money must be replaced into the HURF account. I contacted the Town’s auditors, who are very knowledgeable in municipality audits, to discuss a forensic audit; their response was that a forensic audit could cost more than $25,000 to $30,000 in addition to a regular annual audit costing $15,000 to $20,000. Because of the costs, I felt that we should not have the forensic audit, but ask the auditors to pay close attention in specific areas that the Council was concerned about. This decision would save the taxpayers of Mammoth thousands of dollars. However, at least one member of the Council did not agree with this advice, as the subject continues to resurface in the public sector.
5) A traveler recently stopped at the Miner’s Memorial for a nights rest and was asked to move on by the police. I sincerely apologize to this gentleman, but I have this to offer to the citizens of Mammoth: we recently had suicide at that very location, we have citizens turning in drug paraphernalia and/or drugs found in our parks almost daily, and within the last few months a citizen of Mammoth was found shot “execution style” just outside the city limits. An ordinance was adopted years ago that outlines a curfew of 10: 00 p.m. for our parks. The residents of Mammoth need to know that the newly hired officer did not use a bull horn and did not use excessive force, but did observe a gun in the traveler’s possession. After identifying himself and revealing a permit to carry the gun, he was asked to relocate. The Town has no signs stating the curfew, nor is there a sign stating “Rest Area.”. Again, I do sincerely apologize to the traveler who was inconvenienced, but recognize that our Police Department is doing their job in attempting to make this a safe place for our residents and others traveling through Mammoth.
6) Rumors have been circulating that the residents of Mammoth must pay for the sidewalks and improvements being made to the Town. This is completely untrue. Residents have been asked to pay for extra wide sidewalks should they request it; however, that option has been cut until all of Mammoth’s streets are lined with sidewalks.
7) Changes were recently made to the Senior Citizen’s Program. The intent of these changes was not to create a division in the Mammoth senior citizens group, but to consolidate and build a stronger program. The initial group became politically focused; the new group was formed to offer a non-political group that could help the senior citizens with free meals, games and activities.
8) On Friday, February 21, 2014, recall petitions were submitted against three current Council Members. I have had calls from citizens stating that the at least one of the circulators gave them mis-information as to why the recall is being sought. The petitions were circulated by a group that calls themselves “People for a Better Tomorrow”. This recall election initiated by “People for a Better Tomorrow” will cost the Town’s residents $10,000 to $15,000 while another $10,000 t0 $15,000 will be spent on a regular scheduled election in the fall of this year. I urge the residents to investigate the issues of the recall before supporting it.
In summary, I would like to recap a few issues that are positive for our residents. Three members of the Council, our Engineers and I went to Phoenix for a meeting with the Department of Housing to save a funding of approximately $224,000 of CDBG Grant monies that the Town was losing because time was expiring to expend it. We were able to utilize the badly needed money to prepare for the next phase of grant monies for the placement of a Reversed Osmosis Water Plant. The Town has acquired property next to the well here the reverse osmosis system will be installed. if the funding from various grants is approved, we anticipate having the Reverse Osmosis plant in operation within a year. Our Engineers have stated that with the R.O. system the Town of Mammoth could possibly have the best drinking water in Southern Arizona.
The Council and Staff have been working with representative of the San Carlos Indian Tribe in supporting the construction of a casino near Aravaipa. With this we hope to bring badly needed jobs to our area. This project will directly and indirectly effect our survival as a Town.
Additional growth for Mammoth may be on the horizon. We have been contacted by a representative of investors looking at the possibility of building a strip mall or businesses comparable. Staff has also met several times with developers with an interest in building a housing development on property owned by the Town.
We have so many possibilities to work for and to look forward to. The citizens must work together to accomplish a secure future for Mammoth and its residents. Get involved and help Mammoth overcome the negative image that we have become famous for.
Respectfully,/s/ Patsy L. Large
Mammoth Town Clerk/Manager