by Jim Nintzel
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has cleared four members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors of charges that they violated the state's open-meeting law.
Republican Supervisor Ally Miller charged that the other four members of the Board of Supervisors secretly planned a vote to move $872,000 in road-repair funding from her District 1 streets to a major improvement project on Colossal Cave Road in Supervisor Ray Carroll’s District 4.
You can read all about the switcheroo here, and about how it lead Miller to call 911 to complain about the Weekly’s coverage of the issue here.
Miller, a Republican serving her first term representing the Catalina Foothills, Oro Valley and Marana, accused the other four board members of plotting before the meeting to move the money from her district.
But Arizona Assistant Attorney General Christopher Munns told Miller in an Aug. 21 letter that he “cannot substantiate a violation” of the state’s open-meeting law and “the matter is now closed.”
Munns said his review of a video of the meeting “does not suggest that the motion and vote were orchestrated” and “sworn statements from all of the Board members assert that they did not engage in prohibited communications outside of a public meeting.”
Munns said that he did not investigate other allegations by Miller that did not pertain to the open-meeting law because they fell outside his jurisdiction.
Carroll, a Republican whose district received the additional funding in order to expedite the improvement of Colossal Cave Road where traffic has become snarled near Vail School District schools, two railroad crossings and Interstate 10, said it was another example of Miller making false allegations. Miller has made numerous assertions about missing money in Pima County’s transportation budget, pay-to-play scandals within the county’s Development Services Department and criminal activity in the Rio Nuevo project that have not been substantiated.
“The consistent thing about Ally Miller is that none of her charges ever add up to anything,” said Carroll, who was recently cleared of charges that he had bullied Miller’s staff. “She has spent a lot of time over the last two years crying wolf and less time negotiating, mediating and serving her constituents.”
Supervisor Sharon Bronson said the result was “what we were expecting.”
“It’s unfortunate that our colleague brought this forward and cost the county both time and money, instead of working together to resolve the challenges that face us, whether it’s road repair or infrastructure improvement,” said Bronson, a Democrat who has served on the board since 1997. “Our time is much better spent working together, not against one another.”
Supervisor Richard Elias, a Democrat who made the motion to move the funds, said the AG’s report “further disproves the narrative that Ally has been trying to promote that the Board of Supervisors is a bunch of crooks. We didn’t do anything wrong and she has to learn to work with people if she’s going to be successful for the people in her district.”
Supervisor Ramon Valadez, a Democrat who seconded the motion to transfer the funds, said he’d “never know a case with such little evidence to be pursued as far as it was.”
In an email to the Weekly, Miller said she was satisfied with the outcome of the investigation.
“I have full confidence in the office of the Attorney General and as a result, I accept and respect the findings on this matter,” Miller said.