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home : golden valley news : golden valley news July 22, 2014

10/21/2013 6:00:00 AM
Recall effort targets entire Golden Valley fire board

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

GOLDEN VALLEY - Citing concerns including overspending, internal sabotage and an unwillingness to communicate, two groups of Golden Valley residents have filed paperwork to recall all four members of the Golden Valley Fire District Board.

The first recall petition was filed by Golden Valley residents Bill McCarter and Jeri Feneis against board member Rhonda Brooks on Oct. 4, according to the Mohave County Elections Office.

The two residents accuse Brooks of attempting to sabotage district operations, attacking staff with anonymous complaint letters and refusing to communicate with other board members.

Golden Valley resident Sharon Borden filed petitions against the three other board members - Steven Robinson, Curt Hardy and Mark Vanik - last week.

Borden claims in her petition paperwork that those board members have failed to keep the public informed, that the new station overran its budget by $300,000, that spending at the department is "out of control," board budget meetings are closed to the public, open meeting laws are "continually being broken," letters to the board are not read into the record at meetings and emails to the board receive no response.

"The board isn't concerned with what the public has to say, nor public opinion," Borden wrote in her paperwork. "Board members have their own agenda. They have failed to manage taxpayer monies in an ethical manner."

The groups have 120 days to collect and submit 483 valid signatures to hold a recall election.

The calls for a recall election are linked to a special July fire board meeting at which the fire board censured Brooks and called for her resignation after two employees of the district lodged complaints against her for allegedly intimidating office staff, accusing staff of modifying the board's meeting minutes and accusing the board of holding secret meetings.

Brooks voted against the censure, refused to resign and refused to discuss the allegations.

She has not returned calls from the Miner.

Two residents spoke in support of her at Wednesday's board meeting.

Golden Valley resident Jim Consolato read a list of nine concerns he had about the district during the call to the public.

The list included allegations of abuse of authority by Chief Tom O'Donohue and the fire district board, a hostile workplace, Open Meeting Law violations, unnecessary spending, budget overruns on the construction of the new fire station, the unnecessary cost of a recall election to replace Brooks, gender discrimination by the fire board, unequal treatment of Brooks by the board and unwanted politics being injected into the district's operations.

Consolato did not elaborate on what issues were causing his concerns.

"All of these issues create grave concern, as they apply to the stability and transparency of the G.V. Fire District and the people it serves," Consolato said.

He also called for an audit of district's books, management and board, and a recall of all of the current fire board members.

Another resident said he had some of the same concerns as Consolato. If nothing was wrong, he asked, then why are these rumors flying around of wrongdoing by the board?

Golden Valley resident Heather Sutherland had a different opinion.

"I think it's a shame that [Consolato's] allowed to say such things when he has no foundation for them," she said.

Sutherland said she has attended numerous fire board meetings and this was the first time she had ever seen Consolato at one of the meetings. She suggested that he start attending the meetings more regularly before throwing out accusations.

Phillip Robinson agreed with Sutherland.

"I've been a resident of Golden Valley since 1995. The fire district was in sad shape then," Robinson said. "Since the chief has taken over, I've seen a hell of an improvement.

"Get to know people before you start making accusations. You don't even have a clue of what it was like before."

The fire district has a history of political infighting and mismanagement. O'Donohue was hired as the department's fire chief in 2010.

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Related Stories:
• Forum tries to extinguish rumors about Golden Valley Fire Department
• Golden Valley Fire Department hosting town hall meeting
• Chief real target of Golden Valley recall
• Kingman Letters: Brooks just doing her job

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Repeat Resource

Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings will tell you all you need to know about the money being spent on the C.O.N. attorneys. Go to web based electronic records. Next page at the bottom..Golden Valley.

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013
Article comment by: New Resident Mother

Unbelievable? Serious? Sounds like some school yard bullies picking on the few who are making successful changes. I am very impressed with this Fire Dept. Maybe they should go check it out instead of causing problems.

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: Saturday Morning

Sign recall petitions Saturday morning at Veterans Park in GV.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Just Say in

If the spending doesn't get under control you will have No Fire Dept. to worry about. The board believes that money grows out of the tax payers pockets not there's. So lets spend until it's gone. Raise taxes - once again. Since tax payers have no say.

So a re-call is the only way to go.

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Article comment by: Beth Romelsbacher

Kingman and Golden Valley have a serious attitude problem. Every time somebody decides they don't like someone here they go on a full blown attack and in more instances than not with miss information. Please remember without a good fire department you will lose lives. I would rather pay a little more and have the quality service that is provided by our fire departments. There are a lot of ways to bring change but this is not acceptable but typical for this area. Can't we start solving instead of creating further problems. This is costly as well to our citizens.
Just saying!!!!

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013
Article comment by: Too Much To Ask?

Could you please fill the empty board seat with someone who can read and write and spell? Basic math would be a huge bonus. Thank You.

Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Article comment by: Hard Work Ahead

When there is trouble in a fire district, the fault lies entirely with the board. Please sign the petitions before Golden Valley Fire District runs out of money. Recall the entire Golden Valley Board of Directors.

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Article comment by: Recall Recall Recall

The problem I see here is that the chief and other employees allowed Ms. Sutherland to behave and verbally attack a citizen (who had every right to attend a board meeting) without so much any interference. What is this type of behavior saying to ALL taxpaying citizens of Golden Valley. Are they saying only those who have no complaints may attend. Were there any repercussions for this type of behavior on Ms. Sutherlands part? The meetings are opened to everyone. Like what they have to say or not it is how it is. Shame on the chief for allowing his employees and their families to behave in such a barbaric manner towards tax paying citizens who help fund the Golden Valley Fire District. If this is how they promote weeding out people from attending the meetings then the chief needs to go with the board.

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Article comment by: Coalition for a better Golden Valley

This is a recall that is way overdue. Joy Brotherton needs to pull her head out of the sand and see there is a huge problem within the district that ... lies and cover ups cannot fix. Spending is WAY out of control and the board is enabling this to happen. District moral is at a all time low. The only way to correct this is to get rid of the enabling board and bring in a board that will rein in the chief and his doings towards the employees who serve our great valley. I cannot believe that the paper posted Sutherland's comment without stating she is a wife of an employee. Of course she will defend the chief. Her husbands livelihood depends on it. Just goes to show the fear that the chief has instilled in his employees and families if they are to speak the truth in public. This is why we need change and very fast within the district.

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Article comment by: Another Thing...

That board voted to stop posting meeting notices at the Maverick and The Outpost. Now they've voted to change the meeting day to the third Thursday of the month. Why are they trying to keep the public in the dark? No wonder they're all being recalled.

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Article comment by: Brian & Deborah Harms

Once again - where do we need to go to sign the recall petition.

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Article comment by: Desert Girl 1

I wonder how they knew it was Rhonda Brooks that was attacking staff with anonymous complaint letters? Seems odd!

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Article comment by: Recall them all

Signatures needed for Vanik - 483 Robinson- 483 and for Hardy 161.
Where do I sign the paper?

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013
Article comment by: Brian & Deborah Harms

Please let us know where we can sign the recall petition.

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013
Article comment by: Back Atcha

We can thank Robinson for this mess: Write up a pack of lies and have two innocent people sign their names to them.

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