Having censured her long ago and restricting her communications with staff, the Golden Valley Fire District Board is on the verge of taking Board member Rhonda Brooks to court. Her Board colleagues for months have been asking Brooks to allow her private emails to be reviewed. The new member of the Board, Jack Hommel, at the December 17th Board meeting, said he thinks it’s an invasion of privacy and an unnecessary and expensive consideration. “We were told that if this is pursued in the courts this could run the District $20,000,” Hommel noted. “What benefit derives to this community if it is pursued other than the loss of money to the district?” The reply came from Board member Steve Robinson, the same Board member who has also targeted Brooks for a recall election next spring. Robinson said a review of her emails will prove that Brooks has violated board directives and breached confidentiality dictates. “There was numerous violations both in revealing information and the refusal by Board member Brooks to provide information requested in public,” Robinson said. “She could simply avoid all of the problems by releasing all the emails and letting a computer expert go and pull them off the server. Then it wouldn’t require legal action.” Brooks continues to adamantly refuse an email review. She said she’s done nothing wrong and that the district has no business snooping through what she considers to be her personal communications. Hommel contends the email pursuit is a costly witch hunt and fishing expedition. He is also critical of the Robinson-led special recall election that Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert said could cost the district as much as $25,000. Litigating the email matter would add to the District’s mounting legal expenses on many fronts. Brooks and Board Chairman Paul Gorham said the District has spent more than $300,000 in legal fees to date in pursuit of a certificate to provide ambulance service in the District. The District has incurred further legal fees engaging other attorneys and investigations on personnel matters involving Nicole Guerrero and Tony DeMaio, employees who’ve been served notices of intent to terminate their employment. The District is also paying another attorney to appeal fines proposed by the IRS. As well, the fire district’s main attorney, Bill Whittington, is being paid more than might ordinarily be expected because his assignments and chores keep expanding as issues develop such as the open meeting law violation matters he has handled.
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