Investigation finds two Marana Town council members violated ope - Tucson News Now

Investigation finds two Marana Town council members violated open meeting laws

Marana Town Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler violated open meeting law with an e-mail. Marana Town Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler violated open meeting law with an e-mail.
Marana Town Councilman David Bowen violated open meeting laws with a series of one-on-one conversations following a town council meeting. Marana Town Councilman David Bowen violated open meeting laws with a series of one-on-one conversations following a town council meeting.
E-mail sent by Roxanne Ziegler that violated open meeting laws E-mail sent by Roxanne Ziegler that violated open meeting laws
MARANA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Two Town of Marana council members have violated open meeting laws, according to an investigation conducted by a Phoenix law firm hired by the town. 

The first violation stems from a number of one-on-one discussions Councilman David Bowen had with Mayor Ed Honea, and fellow council members Roxanne Ziegler, John Post, and Herb Kai after a July 1 council meeting regarding Heritage Farm Park. According to the Law Offices of Curtis, Goodwin, Sullivan, Udall & Schwab, "This violated the open meeting law because they serially involved a quorum of the Council and were related to a matter reasonably foreseeable to come before the council." 

The law firm concluded a second open meeting law violation occurred when Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler sent an e-mail to three other council members constituting a quorum, "The e-mail was a violation of the open meeting law because it proposed certain actions on matters reasonably foreseeable to come before the council." 

Open meeting laws are important because they're in place to ensure elected officials conduct government business in an open and transparent manner. It's the right of the people to know how their taxpayers dollars are being spent and how elected officials are exercising their powers granted by the people. 

Marana's Town Attorney Frank Cassidy opted to refer the matter to Curtis, Goodwin, Sullivan, Udall & Schwab to avoid any possible conflicts of interest since his office works closely with the council. Susan Goodwin writes in her conclusions, "the open meeting law prohibits both (i) discussions among a quorum of the Council regarding matters reasonably foreseeable to come before the council and (ii) proposals by one Councilmember to three other Councilmembers regarding a matter that is reasonable foreseeable to come before the Council. Even if there is less than a quorum present at any one time, if subsequent discussions result in a quorum being involved in the discussion, that would constitute a serial meeting."  

When reached by phone both Councilmembers take full responsibility. Roxanne Ziegler said, "it was a mistake and I've lost sleep over this. I'm a third term council member. I know better. I was in a hurry. Instead of hitting two keys, I hit three keys." In her e-mail to three other council members Ziegler wrote, "it looks like we all agree the Heritage Farm discussions need to stop for now. And we can do that with our votes at 8/5/14 meeting." Ziegler explained in a phone interview with me that she has growing concerns over the cost of several projects including Heritage Farm and a proposed multi-million dollar police station, "the town has taken on some capitol improvement projects that will be bringing down our reserves. We've got so many projects going on that need to be addressed before we build another park-we've already got seven." 

Councilman David Bowen was also quick to own up to his mistake, "it was an inappropriate thing to do but I didn't know it at the time." Bowen says he never intended for his conversations with other members following a council meeting to to influence a vote,"as a Councilman for Marana, I have a responsibility to uphold not only the law but also its spirit. In some recent one-on-one discussions with other council members I did in fact violate the law with regard to open meetings, although I was not aware at the time that I was doing so. I accept full responsibility for my actions. Marana's citizens deserve transparency in their elected leaders." 

Following her investigation, Goodwin recommends Ziegler's July 28 e-mail should be placed in the Council Packet and be made available to the public at the next meeting at which time the Heritage Farm Park matter is on the agenda. That meeting is set for 6 p.m. at the Sept. 9 study session. Goodwin also recommends that training on the specific issues of e-mails and serial meetings be held for all council members. 

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All Rights Reserved. 

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Domestic violence group highlights important role of law enforcement

    Domestic violence group highlights important role of law enforcement

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 9:40 AM EDT2017-10-18 13:40:28 GMT

    Local law enforcement leaders and advocates for survivors of domestic abuse are gathering Wednesday morning to talk about the issue.  The event is part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Law enforcement plays an important role in domestic violence situations.  In 2016, the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the Tucson Police Department responded to more than 13,000 calls.  The CEO of Emerge!, an organization t...

    Local law enforcement leaders and advocates for survivors of domestic abuse are gathering Wednesday morning to talk about the issue. The event is part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Law enforcement plays an important role in domestic violence situations. In 2016, the

  • Computer problems with death certificate database holding up burials

    Computer problems with death certificate database holding up burials

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 1:07 AM EDT2017-10-18 05:07:56 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The problem is becoming increasingly troubling for some of the smaller funeral homes in Tucson that are running out of refrigeration space. Bring’s Funeral home is currently at capacity, and they worry this has the potential to become a public health crisis. 

    The problem is becoming increasingly troubling for some of the smaller funeral homes in Tucson that are running out of refrigeration space. Bring’s Funeral home is currently at capacity, and they worry this has the potential to become a public health crisis. 

  • Laundry room fire temporarily displaces family of four

    Laundry room fire temporarily displaces family of four

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 12:41 AM EDT2017-10-18 04:41:17 GMT
    Damage from laundry room fire. (Source: Tucson Fire Department)Damage from laundry room fire. (Source: Tucson Fire Department)

    Crews from the Tucson Fire Department responded to a 911 call about a house fire in the 8900 block of East Bears Path Road on the far east side.   

    Crews from the Tucson Fire Department responded to a 911 call about a house fire in the 8900 block of East Bears Path Road on the far east side.   

Powered by Frankly