El Mirage Responds to AG's Investigation of Allegations Officials Used City Resources To Win November Bond Election

Categories: Wild, Wild West
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The Arizona Attorney General continues its inquiry into El Mirage and allegations that city officials used city resources to influence the outcome of an $8.5 million bond election on November 8.

The bond passed with a mere three-vote margin.

El Mirage provided some rather interesting responses to questions posed by the AG's office.

One issue raised in the inquiry, for instance, is El Mirage changing city policy to allow employees to actively participate in local elections, a practice prohibited by the city.

In his response, City Attorney Robert Hall, the probate attorney living and working in New Mexico that El Mirage hired to represent the city, told the AG's Office that union reps for the city's Fire Department wanted to get involved in the city election.

Hall says he reviewed the city's rules and writes this to the AG:

"Upon review, I concluded that the existing Personnel Policy, when considered in concert with State law, Federal law and previous City Attorney memos, already afforded members of employee groups defined guidelines to participate in the Bond Election."

Um ... if they could already participate in the bond election, which is clearly a city election, why did the city council have to vote to change the rules?

An e-mail from Rick Flaaen, the former city attorney that Hall includes in his response to the AG's Office is pretty clear on employees participation in local elections.

Hall claims that "one clause in the Personnel Manual was changed to clarify the term "other group" and that the allegation that "this action somehow rises to the level of lifting restrictions is not supported by fact."

Really? No restrictions were lifted so employees could politically engage in local elections?

Judge for yourself.

Here is the policy, in part, before it was amended (emphasis ours): "An employee shall not engage in political activity in any City of El Mirage election, except to sign a petition, cast a vote or express a private personal opinion. Employees are free to participate actively in political campaigns for non City of El Mirage elections during non-working hours."

Now, the policy after the city change: An employee shall not engage in political activity in any City of El Mirage election, other than to sign a petition, cast a vote or express a private personal opinion. The one exception is that employees are free to participate actively in political campaigns for the City of El Mirage elections during non-working hours provided they are affiliated with a "lawful" group (political action group, home owner groups, fraternal organizations, veterans groups, police associations, fire associations, etc.) that conducts itself in a lawful manner."

Read the newly adopted policy on employees engaging in political activity (the city underlined additions to the policy).

In other portions of the Attorney General's inquiry, city officials are questioned about using a city newspaper to promote the passage of the bond. There were several opinion pieces written by Mayor Lana Mook touting the benefits of the bond. The city publication did not allow for differing opinions -- only those that highlighted the benefits.

In their reply, city officials minimize the city's connection to the newspaper, saying only that newspaper is published and printed by Pueblo Publishing in Glendale. They include a letter from the general manager of the company reiterating that point.

But the letter from William E. Toops, Pueblo's GM, also notes that El Mirage pays to have the newspaper mailed to every address in the city. That costs El Mirage taxpayers about $2,200 a month, the company tells New Times.

And, El Mirage fails to mention in its AG response that city employees are responsible for the  content -- other than ads -- of the newspaper. Staff time goes into collecting information, writing articles and proofreading the publication; those employees and their salaries are also part of the city's resources.

Hall, in his letter to the AG, complains that the individuals who made the allegations against the city are doing so for the "sole purpose of discrediting six of the seven City Council members and the Administration" and that the "complainants have assisted in mounting a number of collateral attack..."

While Hall moans about the political "attacks" that El Mirage officials had to endure during the campaign, obviously, private residents can support or oppose whatever political measure they want -- certainly no public tax dollars are being expended by their efforts.

A city, on the other hand, can use its purchasing power to punish a local business owner for not supporting the bond, its ability to change laws to allow employee groups to actively get involved in supporting the local bond election, its financial and personnel resources to mail a positive-only message about the bond to every business and household in the city -- without allowing opponents equal time.

A city has a clear and unfair advantage in an election when it uses public resources to persuade the electorate, and that's exactly why those actions are prohibited by state law.

And that is the question now before the Attorney General's Office: Did El Mirage officials violate state law by using city resources to push the $8.5 million bond election to victory?

The investigation is ongoing.

Read El Mirage City Attorney Robert Hall's response to the Attorney General's Office
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16 comments
bradleysmith53
bradleysmith53

Hey my fellow buddies in El Mirage,

I am so sick and tired of the negative feedback by this reporter "Monica Alonza" towards our city and community.  She is constantly being driven and influence by a Fat and Coward of a woman named Linda Kleiner and Kleiner's groupies.  It is a know fact that Linda Kleiner is the biggest liar and  manipulator of people including her own family.  She is so concerned about the things that our city does or does not do, why doesn't she pay attention to her own dam family's serious dysfunctional issues.  I have heard around town that Kleiner has abused many people including her family, her children so that they cannot function as their own person, they are like a herd of cattle, where ever the fat cow goes, the others just follow.  I have a family, my wife, my 4 kids and I am not stressing over the proposed tax hike, I work to provide for my family, maybe she should get a job and get off of government dependency programs, I am not worried about the cameras, if you obey the state posted laws, the camera should not be a problem and if you do get a ticket, then you will learn to be more careful while driving.  I got one and I went to driving school and I learned my lesson, Linda that is life, everybody has to experience life's learning experiences, it will make you a better person. Maybe instead of bashing our mayor, you should offer good ideas to make el mirage better and get your hands dirty and not just running your big fat mouth!  Instead of talking crap about others and their lives, she should expose her life, who is she really?, what contributions has she made to our community, what has her family done to serve any of the poor children and poor low income families in our community, has she donated to our citizens that she is so concerned about having to pay a little hire tax increase.   I was at Mario's today with my family, one of our favorite eateries in El Mirage, and I had a real eye opening conversation with another family that knows Linda Kleiner.  I had already heard  from my Father-in-law and his kids who know Linda's Adult Kids whom have shared their scars of the down right just criminal acts that she does and has done without getting caught.  What stood out was the information I received of the judgment against her for $5000.00 dollars, a civil case (check out the Justice Court Records CC2012-192656 Plaintiff  Zauner VS. Defendants Linda Kleiner, Jay Kleiner, David Kleiner) where she tried to doop an elderly couple out of money she barrowed to save her house from foreclosure.  She did not have any intentions to pay this couple back and they took her ass to court and won, good for them.  Maybe this is why she is against the proposed tax hike, she has no money, get a job fat ass!  By the way, guess who was her attorney, yes Richard Flaaen, sound familiar, crooks stay together.  I thanked this husband and wife whom shared this information and I will not disclose their names for their safety from this Crazy woman.  I hope that anyone that has contact with her is very careful with her manipulation tactics.

Now to you Monica, why do you believe this person with everything she says, I ask you the same, have you gotten your hands dirty and have you come into our city and helped with positive ideas,  positive feed back in el mirage.  Are you just using your position to keep going to the well because you cannot get any other reports, maybe the New Times can only give you El Mirage Politics to report on, becareful before your buddy squashes you with her fat ass.  You should look into her record and talk to her family about what she hides from the public, go ask the elderly couple that she and her family intentionally tried to deceive to save her own ass.  This couple lives in Sun City, Monica look into and investigate your friend and her ways to manipulate her family, other people and you.  Open you eyes Monica, be a reporter that knows both sides of the story.  We are sick and tired of you and the New Times and Linda Kleiner,  making our the City of El Mirage, Az a laughing  stock of the west valley cities.    I am so tired of talking to citizen after citizen that I am thinking of getting involved with our City as a member to give our current leaders support and affirmation.  Our City is growing and looking much better than ever before, If your friend Linda Kleiner does not like our city, then she and her family should move out, that's what I would do.  I met my wife here, as a Military E-7 Officer stationed a Luke, I fell in love with her family, they have deep roots her in El Mirage.  Her Family worked the Roses Farms and Fields for many years and I could live in Glendale, Goodyear, Avondale, and Etc. but I want my wife to be close to her family and my family to close to hers.  My family and I love our Parish St. Teresita's  and we do not like the negative racist character of this woman, Get a life Linda, join a gym and lose some serious weight maybe this will help you with your craziness and raunchy oppositions.  As a Military Officer, I love my country, I love my Family and I love my community in El Mirage Arizona, keep up the good work elected officials of el mirage.  We support you and you can trust that we will not let this woman hurt you with her lies.

Florida Probate code
Florida Probate code

Hello..The information you shared in the post is very informative for me. Being a law student, I was looking for the knowledgeable post and reached here. I have gathered a huge knowledge being here.

nightshade
nightshade

TO ALL WHO FOLLOWS THOSE WHO WOULD DENIE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. A STORM HAS APPEARD ON THE NEW HORIZON IN THE FORM OF INJUSTICE, DECIETE, LIES, ATTACK ON ONES FAMILY, TURING ON THOSES WHO WERE ONCE BELIVERES. MORE INFORMATION WILL FOLLOW IN THE COMING WEEKS. FIRST THE AG RESULTS, THEN LD12, THEN THE TRUTH ABOUT OBSERVING THAT WHICH HAPPENED IN THE SPAN OF TWO MONTHS. HOW CAN THAT BE, HOW CAN A PERSON OBSERVE THAT WHICH THEY DID NOT SEE? THEN LIE ABOUT THE FACTS? NEXT R. E. C. A. L. L. WHO WILL BE THE FIRST?

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Definitely time for the sheriff from "Walking Tall" to tune up some city officials in El Mirage.    What a fitting name for the town.    "What corruption?   It was all a mirage".    How do these yahoos think they can get away with this crap?    Same way the city of Surprise can hire a new police chief that was booked for domestic violence twice while he was a Phoenix city cop.    Surprise!.

Rick Flaaen
Rick Flaaen

I happened across this article because my name was mentioned, so I read it.  I don't know how anyone can claim my 2010 e-mail supports that employees could engage in political activity in city of El Mirage elections.  That was simply not the case in 2010.  At that time, an employee was limited to voting and signing a petiton (if they lived in El Mirage), and expressing a personal opinion.  They could not, under any circumstances, actively campaing in a city election.  This is the same restrictions that exist for state employees and in most (at least all that I'm aware of) of the other cities and towns in the valley.  This is a dangerous direction the city has taken..

Abc
Abc

Exactly.  They changed the policy so that only those in organized groups (read as police and fire unions) could campaign.  This is dangerous ground. There were police civlians out handing out flyers throughout the neighborhoods during the weekend.  Wonder if any of them claimed overtime on their time sheets for that weekend?

Really?
Really?

When I look up your name this is what I find from the Arizona Republic 8/2/07.  "El Mirage has hired a municipal attorney who resigned from a similar position with Glendale in 2003 after accused of using a city computer to surf pornographic Web sites."  It goes on to say"A sweep of Glendales computer network in 2003 detected repeated efforts on Flaaens computer to access Web sites featuring photos of nudes and naked celebrities."  This is what ABC 15 reported on Mr. Flaaen after a young El Mirage girl was murdered in a culvert.  "It's all speculation said El Mirage attorney Rick Flaaen, claiming Hermans murder was unavoidable and there's nothing the city could have done to prevent the attack.  "-----the city could not put up fences because it is a flood way."  Mr. Flaaen, FENCING IS BEING PUT UP AT THIS VERY MOMENT.  Obviously, you have been wrong numerous times in the past--why should we believe you today??

Woefacat
Woefacat

Did you read that carefully Mr. Flaaen? It states that Mr Hall received an email where you outlined the CURRENT provision at that time. That tells me that Mr. Hall was made aware of the current provision. The paragraph below quotes Mr. Hall not you. So the next time you google your name read the damn article carefully before you go all pissy.

nightshade
nightshade

Really? WHAT KIND OF A B-U-T-T head ARE U? HAVE U JOINED THE LOCAL MORONS ? OR MAYBE U R JUST ONE OF MANY WHO BOW-WOW OR MOOOOOOO-KEEEEEEEE DOWN N KISS HER Anus! BLIND ONE EYE UNABLE 2 C OUT the UTTER. REMEMBER WHAT THE GOOD BOOK SAY’S NEVER STAND B HIND THE COW-SOW OR U WILL GET Shittttt on! HOWEVER IT APPEARS U R THERE NOW, WOW MAYBE U SHOULD CHANGE THEM GRAND-MAAAAAAAA PANT-EEEEEEEEEESSSSSS? So WHAT kind of pics U have on yourssssssssssssss. Beware of WIFI?  

urallcrazy
urallcrazy

NICE lANGUAGE!!!!  I'll bet you are one of those guys that think they can run the city better than Mook and her kooks.  I can just see you using that language while campaigning.  See what that ges you.  I have 3 words for you, "TAKE YOUR MEDS'.

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