The Pima County Board of Supervisors is the employer of County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Employees who try to undermine their employer are guilty of insubordination at a minimum. Use of County funds to orchestrate attacks on an elected official is illegal under Arizona Revised Statutes 11.410, A and D (see below).
This email exchange, obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent through Supervisor Ally Miller, offers clear and convincing proof that County Administrator Huckelberry directed County Communications Director Mark Evans to “proceed” with attacks on elected District 1 Supervisor Miller. Here’s the email exchange of December 5, 2015:
On Dec 5, 2015, at 1:16 PM, Mark B. Evans (Communications) <email@example.com> wrote:
I shelved the fact check on the St. Demetrios property until that’s ready to go.
I added new fact checks today. Page is hidden until you say go.
I’ve held off posting replies on Miller’s Facebook page until this page was ready to go. Want to hit her with both at same time since it’s sure to cause a reaction. (BTW, I told McNamara what we’re up to and he thinks it’s a story. So does Nintzel. I haven’t said anything to Dan Shearer because he’s sure to react negatively to it. Prepare for a backlash on talk radio and inquiries from ADI about how much this is costing).
Let me know if you want me to change anything in the fact check explanations. ME
Mark B. Evans
Public Communications Manager
From: Chuck Huckelberry <Chuck.Huckelberry@pima.gov>
Date: Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 1:46 PM To: Mark Evans <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject:Re: fact check page ready
The issue was the County’s purchase of approximately 8 acres of land from St. Demetrios Church for flood control. A county appraisal valued the land at $850,000, later updated to $890,000. A 96-page independent appraisal by Southwest Appraisal Associates requested by Supervisor Miller valued the property at only $650,000. The County bought it for $931,000.
Evans prepared an attack on Miller’s appraisal to go on her Facebook page and lined up several local journalists to publicize their position. Star reporter Patrick McNamara and Tucson Weekly political reporter Jim Nintzel were brought on board, while the Green Valley News’s Dan Shearer was deliberately left out. Evans expressed concern about “talk radio” and the ADI challenging their conspiracy. Local media has often attacked Miller and suspicions about those attacks being directed by county staff are now confirmed.
There are two questions now: what will the Pima County Attorney or the State Attorney General do in the face of this evidence? And what will the voters do about Supervisors who protect – some say encourage — law-breaking by taxpayer-paid county staff?
Arizona Revised Statutes: 11-410. Use of county resources or employees to influence elections; prohibition; civil penalty; definitions
- A county shall not spend or use its resources, including the use or expenditure of monies, accounts, credit, facilities, vehicles, postage, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, web pages, personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or any other thing of value, for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections…
- Employees of a county shall not use the authority of their positions to influence the vote or political activities of any subordinate employee.
- The attorney general or the county attorney of the county in which an alleged violation of this section occurred may initiate a suit in the superior court in the county in which the alleged violation occurred for the purpose of complying with this section.
- For each violation of this section, the court may impose a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars plus any amount of misused funds subtracted from the county budget against a person who knowingly violates or aids another person in violating this section. The person determined to be out of compliance with this section is responsible for the payment of all penalties and misused funds. County funds or insurance payments shall not be used to pay these penalties or misused funds. All misused funds collected pursuant to this section shall be returned to the county whose funds were misused.