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Archive for November, 2012

Quartzsite Town Council Meeting Video

28 Nov

Quartzsite Town Council met yesterday:

Video much appreciated, contributed by Southwest Desert News / MPI, LLC (copyright)

 
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Looking For An Affordable Dentist?

22 Nov

I want to make a recommendation to anyone looking for a dentist just across the U.S. border in Algodones, Mexico. Look up Dra. Susana Luna at “International Dentist Group”. She has been my choice for some time. Count on her for competent care, a clean facility and very affordable service fees. Reach her at 1-866-309-3976. Ask for a checkup.

This is not an ad. It is recognition for a doctor doing a good job.

 
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Brannan, Yackley, Johnson Freeze Town Of Quartzsite Firings

20 Nov

READ RESTRAINING ORDER HERE

Judge Michael Burke issued a temporary injunction yesterday Monday November 19. It restrains the Town of Quartzsite from pursuing the terminations of Janet Brannan, Nora Yackley, and Al Johnson. The ruling was made in spite of a seriously flawed petition by the plaintiffs’ attorney: Martin Brannan. In the document, on page one Brannan first  petitions for “the Town of Quartzsite”. On Page 8 Brannan then signs as “Attorney for the Town of Quartzsite”

 
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Revealing Interview Exposes Quartzsite Police Chief Gilbert

20 Nov

Stephen Frakes, former Quartzsite Police officer, was interviewed by two DPS officers in August 2011. Revelations in Frakes’ statements refer to: Mayor Ed Foster, former Quartzsite Police officer Starr, Vito Austin, Deena Blythe, Violet Kiss, Mrs. Huntley, Laura Vittori (deceased), Kevin Norris (deceased), Mike Roth, Russell Sias.

It is worth 44 minutes of your time.

Link to factsfromavew channel on youtube.com

 
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Video – Quartzsite Council Terminates Town Manager Alexandra Taft

13 Nov

Town Manager Taft had been placed on “administrative leave” by the Quartzsite Town Council on September 12. Today immediately after an executive session, Taft was fired.

Video much appreciated, contributed by Southwest Desert News / MPI, LLC (copyright)

 
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Read Contract For Laura Bruno – Quartzsite Interim Town Manager

12 Nov

Laura Bruno

 READ CONTRACT WITH SIGNATURES HERE

EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
This EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT (“Agreement”) is entered into this 25th day of September, 2012 between the Town of Quartzsite (“Town”) and Laura Bruno (“Bruno”) under the following terms, conditions and obligations.

In consideration of the mutual covenants contained herein, the Parties agree as follows:

l.     EMPLOYMENT AND DUTIES.

1.1 Town employs Bruno as Interim Town Manager and Bruno accepts said employment subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Section 3-2-1 of the Town Code (“Town Code”), and to the supervision and direction of the Common Council of Town (“Town Council”). Bruno shall carry out the duties set forth in Section 3-2-1 of the Town Code, comply with applicable laws of the State of Arizona and perform such other legally permissible administrative and executive duties as required by her position or assigned to her by Town Council.

1.2 Bruno shall be an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act and is therefore not eligible for overtime.

2     TERM; TERMINATION

This Agreement commences on September 12, 2012 and shall terminate on March ll, 2012 unless sooner terminated as provided herein. Bruno, as Interim Town Manager serves at the pleasure of the Town Council and nothing herein shall be taken to prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of the Town Council to terminate the services of Bruno as Interim Town Manager, with or without cause by giving thirty (30) days’ written notice to Bruno. Bruno may terminate this contract with or without cause by giving thirty (30) days’ written notice to the Town Clerk.

3.   COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS.

Town shall pay Bruno a bi-weekly salary of $3,706.00. Bruno waives any rights to any other benefits

4. ENTIRE AGREEMENT. This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties and shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Arizona.

5. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. This Agreement may be terminated pursuant to ARS Section 38-511.

Effective September 12, 2012

Approved by the Common Council for The Town of Quartzsite by Majority

Vote this day 25th  of September, 2012

TOWN OF QUARTZSITE   On behalf of the Common Council

ATTEST:  Town Clerk

APPROVED AS TO FORM: Town Attorney

INTERIM TOWN MANAGER  Laura Bruno

Employment Agreement  Interim Town Manager  Effective September 12, 2012

 
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Former Quartzsite Town Attorney Martin Brannan Complains To State

09 Nov

Martin Brannan was terminated by the Quartzsite Interim Town Manager Laura Bruno two weeks ago. Brannan has been the subject of many bar complaints and just placed last in the election for La Paz County Attorney. He was dismissed for cause – reasons listed in the previous posting below.

Now in a complaint to the Arizona State Personnel Board, Brannan complains that he was wronged and demands a large severance check. The Town and each Council member have been served with the complaint. In it he reveals much of the history of recent activity in Quartzsite Town Hall that has so far been a matter of speculation.

The actual document filed by Brannan can  be viewed HERE.

THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT CONTAINS THESE INTERESTING EXCERPTS:

Martin Brannan, Complainant _vs _ Town of Quartzsite etc.

At the time of my hire, I was told that the Town was looking for a “hard-ass” town attorney … Prutch appeared to be placing pressure on Mayor Lizarraga. Lizarraga missed several meetings … Apparently under pressure from Prutch, … Lizarraga, in a snit … adjourned the meeting …  Orgeron was nevertheless qualified … apparently, he didn’t mean to be qualified to vote in Yuma County, but rather meant to be a Quartzsite resident even as he had all of his vital mail sent to his Yuma County address or, like an electron in quantum theory, and contrary to the express dictates of Arizona law, Orgeron could be in two places at once. … cross-examination of Orgeron … embarrassing … for Orgeron. … my membership on a website called “ThinkAtheist.com” resulted in my being “outed” as an atheist…  I would just be exposing myself to even more isolation and abuse.  The level of vitriol, disrespect, anger, and dishonest discourse by the public, without refutation or condemnation by the Council, and by Council members far exceeded the bounds of decency one would expect in a civilized community.  In May of 2011, ten Quartzsite Police Department employees filed an anonymous “omnibus” complaint … led to tandem investigations… Jackson Lewis attorney …  at great expense ($22,861.73) to the Town … … three officers interviewed were determined to be redeemable and were reinstated over the vehement objection of Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert. …address Gilbert’s shortcomings as an administrator and manager, meeting with nothing more than resistance and ridicule of the Town’s efforts by Gilbert, the DPS investigations also bogged down.  One investigation, into whether Gilbert and two of his officers engaged in disturbing the peace by removing an unruly woman from a public meeting … second report, detailing allegations of misuse of the National Criminal Information Computer system (N CIC) and the Arizona Criminal Justice Information System (ACJIS); tampering with a public record and witness intimidation took well over a year to complete, however. The second report provided information from which a reasonably prudent person could conclude that Gilbert did misuse the NCIC and ACJIS and did tamper with a witness. The Town was asked, however, to hold on to the information while it was reviewed by the AMRRP attorneys defending the federal lawsuit involving the seven employees, so no action was taken immediately upon receipt of the report. The Attorney General’s Office did decline to prosecute, but it is my understanding that the charges of witness tampering are being revisited by that agency.  …Gilbert’s complete lack of cooperation with remedial  communications training efforts, Gilbert and one of his sergeants, a female with whom he appears to be romantically, or at the very least, inappropriately involved, had conspired to submit a time card for the charge which stated that she had worked nine hours and taken one vacation hour on a day when the Town knew that the sergeant was only in Quartzsite available to work for no more than six hours. … … August 25, I was forced to contact Robert Halliday, the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Curt Bagby, the La Paz County Sheriffs Patrol Lieutenant Curt Bagby to advise them that … we would need assistance if the Council violated the Town Code and reinstated Gilbert and Gilbert, emboldened by a mob, attempted to take control over the Police Department. …  On September 4, 2012, Assistant Town Manager Johnson and I went to Phoenix to meet with an investigator at the Attorney General’s Office, AMRRP’s risk analyst Mike Branham and with our attorneys from Jackson Lewis and the president of AMRRP in an effort to warn them of the actions that the Council had been taking…  On September 10, 2012, Mr. Johnson gave me a memorandum that he had prepared concerning this decision regarding a complaint made by Officer Anton Coetzee. …discussion with Mr. Johnson about the fact that Gilbert was routinely violating the terms of his administrative leave, had issued a press release falsely claiming to have been exonerated … … Gilbert knew is definitely not the equivalent of being exonerated. …Mr. Johnson consulted with me as the Town’s Attorney regarding whether I believed the results of Coetzee’s complaint, combined with Gilbert’s insubordinate behavior toward Ms. Taft’s instructions and other misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance on Gilbert’s part was sufficient to terminate …  On the morning of September 11, 2012, Mr. Johnson issued a letter terminating the contract between the Town and Gilbert for willful misconduct and gross negligence. … Council met in executive session concerning its plans to hire an interim town manager against my advice …… an emergency ordinance become effective immediately and deprives the public of its right to refer the ordinance if the public so wishes… would take effect immediately and would not be subject to referendum. … appointing Laura Bruno (how the Council knew who they would be appointing without holding some sort of serial or secret meeting is beyond my ken) …. On September ll, 2012, I was also served with a notice of termination of contract from Albert Johnson  contingent upon the council hiring a second town manager or, as the Town calls her and she calls herself, an interim town manager … Mr. Johnson and I believed that he had been delegated all of the Personnel Officer authority vested in the Town Manager, including making a reasonable and logical decision to terminate my employment … September 12, 2012, Orgeron moved to remove item 1 from the agenda while displaying his anger that I notified the public, … that six votes would be required to pass the ordinance immediately. … The Council went into executive session, again violating town code by excluding me …and, initially, refused to record the session so that the Attorney General would have a complete record. …  hired Laura Bruno to fill the same position already filled by Alexandra Taft without any legal authority to hire two people to do the same job … Following the hiring of Laura Bruno, I … began to remove my personal property from my office. … Mr. Johnson, who along with myself had been appointed by the Town Manager the additional task of being a building security officer and who had never met Ms. Bruno, saw Ms. Bruno enter into the restricted area of Town Hall and proceed to Alexandra Taft’s office. Mr. Johnson stopped Ms. Bruno and said she wasn’t supposed to be in this part of the building. Once Ms. Bruno identified herself. Mr. Johnson stepped out of her way and was, immediately thereafter, placed on “administrative leave”…. Bruno also ordered Mr. Johnson to collect his property and leave the premises. For the remainder of the time that Mr. Johnson was at Town Hall that day, acting chief of police, Sergeant James Schultz shadowed Mr. Johnson’s every move. … Ms. Bruno called for a staff meeting which was conducted in a room immediately outside the door to my office. Although I didn’t attend the meeting, the door to my office was open and I could easily hear what was being said. Ms. Bruno advised the staff that she demanded their respect and that she would respect them in turn. Ms. Bruno went on to say that, although she was aware of the reputations of many town employees, she would make her own conclusions about what would happen to those employees and wasn’t there to be an “ax man.” An employee then asked Ms. Bruno, if what Ms. Bruno was saying were true, why did Ms. Bruno immediately put Mr. Johnson on Administrative Leave? Ms. Bruno said words to the effect of “I don’t like your tone, young lady. I know a lot more than you do.” Not surprisingly, no one asked a question of Ms. Bruno after that exchange. A short time after … When I returned, former acting Town Manager and still Town Clerk, Terry Frausto, accompanied by her husband, a sergeant with the police department then went about watching me finish retrieving my personal items. Sergeant Frausto watched me the entire time I was collecting my personal items and I was asked for my keys by Police Evidence Technician Tim Rider. …I had been feeling extremely stressed … I am a combat veteran with a 50% disability which, in part, relates to the lingering effects of Post-Traumatic Disorder. I went to see my physician … wrote a prescription that said I could not work until October 3, 2012. … the Town also changed the password to my work email… toxic environment at Town Hall. He wrote a prescription stating that I may work from home at my own schedule …I again saw my local physician to see if I was well enough, in his opinion, to attend a meeting which would discuss allegations of deficient  performance without the slightest hint of what the subject(s) of discussion would be. Dr. Franklin ordered me to go to the emergency room for an immediate psych evaluation as I had exceeded his ability to be of assistance…  Not being able to afford the $250 co-pay for the local emergency room …I sent an email to Bruno explaining that I was not well … On October 26, 2012, I received a voicemail from Bruno telling me that my contract was being terminated with cause. …

Request for Relief

1) That the State Personnel Board enjoins the Town of Quartzsite from terminating me with cause.

2) That the State Personnel Board orders the Town of Quartzsite to change the termination to a without cause termination and pay the severance owed as a result thereof.

3) That the State Personnel Board orders Laura Bruno to pay a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars to the Town of Quartzsite general fund to be paid by Laura Bruno, not the Town of Quartzsite.

4) That the State Personnel Board finds that Laura Bruno committed a prohibited personnel practice against Complainant, who disclosed information that Complainant reasonably believed evidenced a violation of any law.

5) That the State Personnel Board orders Laura Bruno to pay a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars.

6) That the State Personnel Board orders the Town of Quartzsite to dismiss Laura Bruno.

7) That the State Personnel Board bars Laura Bruno from any future employment by the Town of Quartzsite.

 
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Quartzsite Interim Town Manager Laura Bruno Could Face Dismissal

09 Nov

As result of a proposed resolution by Council member Patricia Workman the Quartzsite Town Council is expected to reconsider the status of the Town Manager Alex Taft. If the Resolution is adopted this Tuesday the Council may direct that Interim Town Manager Laura Bruno be dismissed, and Town Manager Alexandra Taft be returned to her seat. Taft is currently on administrative leave. Taft could as well be subsequently dismissed by the Council – for cause or without cause, because the Town Manager serves at the pleasure of the Council.

Under the apparent direction of Council member Mark Orgeron, the Council voted to put Taft on (paid) administrative leave August 28. They apparently acted against the advice given them by the Town Attorney Martin Brannan. Since that time, Taft has been expected to remain at her residence during business hours, waiting for the Town to act again.

READ Proposed Resolutions

 
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Town Attorney Brannan Terminated For Cause

05 Nov
Martin Brannan

 

Martin Brannan no longer works for the Town of Quartzsite as Town Attorney. His contract was terminated for cause on October 30.

SEE LETTER OF TERMINATION

Here are the reasons given for Brannan’s dismissal:

===========

 

 

1. Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys in the State of Arizona, including a conflict of interest in violation of Ethical Rule 1.7(a). You gave advice to Council of the Town  Quartzsite regarding personnel matters then initiated legal action against advised Council members for failure to follow advice.

2. Material Misrepresentation to Town Council and Violation of Town Procurement Code. Stating to Council on March 27, 2012 that there would be no authorization to use town funds in connection with a voter fraud investigation; You later claimed that you had authority to hire Mr. Humphreys to perform an investigation without approval of the Council for the expenditure and incurred expenses in excess of $8,000 on behalf of the Town without authorization from Town Council, in violation of Town Code Section 3-401H.

3. Attempted and actual abandonment of your position; Seeking to abandon your position by repeatedly requesting notice of constructive discharge from acting Town Manager Frausto; Abandoning your position by packing your belongings and not returning to work.

4. Intimidation of Acting town Manager and coercion to acquire her signature on a document purporting to recuse herself in regards to personnel matters.

5. Acting in violation of your duties of loyalty.

 
 

David C Sheehan 1936-2012

05 Nov

David C Sheehan of Quartzsite Arizona was born February 10, 1936 in Sayre, Pennsylvania. He died November 1st at Polidori Hospice in Lake Havasu Arizona. He was the seldom seen maker and baker of the Quartzsite Bakery. He is survived by his wife Deanna of 53 years, son Vic of Sandy Oregon, daughter Xena Hamby of Pompano Beach, Florida, grand children Nick, Jalaine, and Quade Sheehan, Hunter Hamby, and great grand daughter Addison Sheehan.

David C Sheehan 2012

 
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Al Johnson Terminated

02 Nov

The record now shows that Al Johnson is no longer on the Town of Quartzsite payroll. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Johnson termination letter

 
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