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10/31/2013 2:40:00 PM
Camp Verde council eyes amendment to residency requirement
Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German and Vice Mayor Jackie Baker discuss the Town Code during Wednesday’s work session. VVN/Bill Helm
Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German and Vice Mayor Jackie Baker discuss the Town Code during Wednesday’s work session. VVN/Bill Helm

Bill Helm
Managing Editor

CAMP VERDE - After a month of discussions, the Camp Verde Town Council found common ground as members continued to consider residency requirements in the Town Code.

During Wednesday's work session, the council agreed that Town Manager Russ Martin would be allowed to recommend alternatives to sections 3-1-1, 3-2-1.C and 3-2-4.A of the Town Code.

On Oct. 16, the Camp Verde Town Council voted 5-2 against granting CVMO Marshal Nancy Gardner a waiver to live in Munds Park. Code 3-2-4.A says, "... The Town Marshal shall be a resident of the Town, unless such requirement is waived by the Council."

Martin will recommend that the council retain, eliminate or amend the residency requirement.

Nearly a dozen Camp Verde residents attended Wednesday's work session. A few spoke to the council.

"In response to the waiver issue, it should either be removed completely or there should be some time limits outlined," said Camp Verde resident Cheri Wischmeyer, who summarized her thoughts after the work session. "Whatever the items are within the waiver, they should refer to new hires and not come up almost two years after the employee starts work."

Since Oct. 2 when the Council was first presented with Gardner's waiver request, there have been allegations of circumventing policy, headhunting and favoritism.

"The Town Code are the rules and regulations of Camp Verde," said Vice Mayor Jackie Baker. "We are here because of a disobedience of the code. This code is like a contract. This is what employees obey; we expect [Martin] to follow it. The code is to be obeyed. It's not to be changed because it doesn't fit my style. And you don't do that ahead of time.

"We are not imposing our will to the community," Baker continued. "We're listening to the community. It is council's job to determine, to write and to approve the codes we set "

One recommendation was that not only should the town manager and marshal be required to live within town limits, but also all the Town's department heads. But council member Bruce George suggested the elimination of the residency requirement, as well as the waiver option.

"These people are not indentured servants," said council member Robin Whatley. "I don't want to be big brother. What comes next? Do we tell people they have to buy their groceries at Bashas'? I thought this was America."

Camp Verde Magistrate Court Judge Harry Cipriano also addressed council about the residency requirement.

"You brought this marshal in to do a good job," Cipriano said to the council. "As a judge, I was disappointed in the former marshal. He didn't have control of his people. This marshal has her heart in this town. You have good people working for you.

"You should listen to council persons Whatley and George," Cipriano continued. "A few of you are being very closed minded. You need to look at the big picture. Please think about this whole situation. [If not], you're going to break the backs of your employees. It benefits the community to have quality people do a quality job."

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: W I Zolman

Stop the mudslinging and rude comments already. Focus on the issue - do the citizens want their top two administrators to live in the Town limits? If not, change the town code to let them live where ever they like, whether it be Camp Verde or California. With technology, they can perform their jobs efficiently from anywhere in the world, right? That is what some Council members and the public say. If so, then change our laws and open the door to qualified candidates because apparently Camp Verde can't grow or attract our own like Clarkdale, Cottonwood, and Sedona can. This issue has never been about job performance as some Council members, employees, and the public have twisted it into. It's about the law Listening to some, it's more important for our tax dollars to pay for employee happiness.Council members, you took an oath to uphold the laws and common courtesy demands respect for diverse opinions amongst yourselves. You have been sorely disrespectful of your fellow members and of public opinion. You are not setting a good example of a healthy debate for the public or employees. You might reconsider your positions if you cannot conduct yourselves in a more professional manner. Employees, you have been disrespectful to the public and to Council members, You should also consider your positions. Our town is being hurt by this display of poor behavior and sadly, former employees who are not present to defend themselves are also being hurt. Stop this nonsense already! Do we want our top officials to live in our Town? Or, do we want to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for them to be happy somewhere else? Simple question - simple answer. Make a decision without the insults and move on.

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: ted kerr

Our marshal,nancy gardner, accepted her position with the knowledge she was required to live in town. Since being hired,she has never lived in town. Munds park is her current home. She has not followed her contract and wants the rules changed. I would not say that she is setting a good example for the rest of the town employees and its residents to follow any codes set by our town officials. For once I would like to see the town enforce a code/law without providing a loophole or changing the rules to make it fit the changing whims of a few in town. If camp verde is ever to be taken seriously by anyone, it needs to remember that others in and out of town notice the same ol politics that have been here since 1986.

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Article comment by: Sam Whittemore

A lot of to do about very little.

I can understand the desire to have the Town Manager and Marshal live relatively close to the community. In an emergency situation they may have to respond rapidly, and truth to tell in an emergency, means of rapid communication are often compromised. Do they have to live exactly within the Town boundaries? Poppycock I say.

Requiring all Department Heads to live in Town is not at all necessary. Are we looking for professionals or are we looking for "good ole boys"? I remember the days of the "good ole boys".

You hire the best qualified people to do the job that you can afford to hire. The quality of their work is what is of primary concern. Frankly as a long term resident I can say without hesitation, only speaking my own opinion here, our current Town Manager and our current Marshal are the best ones we have had since we incorporated. Remember the last two pieces of work we had in both of those positions?

They are professionals doing a good job, and we have much more important things to be doing than wasting time and effort obsessing about exactly where they lay their heads to sleep.

All that said, I can understand and probably agree that Munds Park, may be a bit too far away.

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Letter to the Editor

Is our countries leadership missing?

It will be interesting to see what the Camp Verde town leaders do demonstrate they are in fact role models for their community, residents and youth.

We live in a society where the rules (flavors) are too easily changed to get the desire flavor after the ice cream is already in the cone.

If you consider the above-the-law issues associated with various law enforcement agencies throughout our country and Yavapai County, is it any wonder that many citizens, residents and youth use this display of poor leadership to justify their bad behavior. If we can’t trust our law enforcement or are afraid of them then we have a very destructive situation.

What's that expression, "It starts with "Leadership" and runs downhill from there”.

Will the outcome of a Camp Verde Marshall residency decision successfully and tastefully change the flavor of our ice cream or will it leave a bad taste in the mouth of those that have to eat it?

Makes you wonder why any of our Armed Forces men and women serve our decaying country when you see what our nation’s leaders, in every capacity are doing when it comes to following and enforcing the rules.

Time for all of us to “Man or Woman-Up”, wake up and be responsible, our future depends on it.

Gary Chamberlain
Cornville AZ
Vietnam veteran

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Article comment by: T.J. O'Malley

Although I do agree that the last Marshal was not very good at his job, telling the council that they are being very closed minded is a little obtuse don't you think Mr, Cipriano? Seems like your being a little judgmental on their opinion, as a judge you have to make a sound judgment on cases you hear, if someone told you in court that YOU are being a little close minded I wonder what that out come would be. I can fully agree with you on the point that marshal Gardner has done an outstanding job so far, 100% better than the last one, but policies are in place for a reason, and after reflection from the last meeting, I really don't think it is a big deal if she does live in Munds park, and not sure if it is true but if she has already been living there without the waiver knowing what the policy is then she should have to pay the fiddler for breaking the rules. I don't feel she should be fired, or I hope she don't quit, but if any other town employee broke the rules, they would be held responsible for there actions.

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