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.


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 “” 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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  1. nonparty

    November 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    “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.”

    So, then, Brannon admits he is of unsound mind?

    Borrowing from a motion by Michael Roth for a court ordered mental exam of Hygeia Halfmoon when Halfwit sought an Injunction against Roth (case # HR-2012-0012 in Quartzsite Muni Court), A.R.S. Section A.R.S. § 12-2202 requires that “Persons who are of unsound mind at the time they are called to testify shall not be witnesses in a civil action.”

    Likewise, Rule 35(a) of Arizona Civil Procedure states, “When the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party […] is in controversy, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical or mental examination by a physician or psychologist or to produce for examination the person in the party’s custody or legal control. The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be examined and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.”

    While this matter hasn’t come under the jurisdiction of a civl court (yet), considering that this is a civil action even at this stage, I wonder if there are similar requirments for the Arizona State Personnel Board? If any “testimony” Brannon gives to the Board (or any “testimony” Brannan has given to anyone of late) is admissable? As it stands now, these could be the ravings of a mad man.


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