The Mohave County attorney’s office will not take further action on a complaint asking that Victor Riccardi be booted from the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District board for allegedly failing to complete training mandated by law.
Chris Simpson, the President of the local 4191 Professional Firefighter’s union, filed a March 27 complaint asserting that the county should petition the Court for a finding that Riccardi should be removed from his elected position. Simpson cited a statute providing for that course of action should it be determined that Riccardi failed to complete six hours of training that the law requires within the first year of newly-elected or appointed status.
Riccardi was last elected in November of 2014 and should have completed his training before the 2015 calendar year began.
In a May 16 letter to Riccardi, deputy county attorney James Schoppmann noted that Riccardi met with staff attorney Ryan Esplin on May 8, informing Esplin he completed the training, while offering a witness statement in support of his assertion.
Schoppmann told Riccardi that the organization responsible for conducting the professional development training, the Arizona Fire District Association (AFDA), did not substantiate his claim of compliance.
“Contrary to your statement, the AFDA has no record of your completion of the professional development training for 2015 and 2016,” Schoppmann’s letter said. It noted that the AFDA said Riccardi completed the training after the March 27 Simpson complaint, some 17 months after the legal deadline.
“Our investigation also found that during your time as a board member, you were advised on multiple occasions at Board meetings that you were required to attend the training,” the letter said. It also noted that AFDA records indicated that Riccardi stands alone among dozens of fire district board members in northwest Arizona.
“You were the only currently active fire board member in all of Mohave County who had failed to attend even one of the four classes offered,” Schoppmann’s letter said. “Other than yourself, our investigation could not definitively find another current board member who had failed to comply within one year of being elected or appointed.”
Schoppmann’s letter informs Riccardi that he won’t be taken to Court, despite evidence to support a finding of nonfeasance.
“The County Attorney declines at this time to pursue the matter further because you have provided proof of your recent compliance with the training requirements, and the purpose of referring the matter to our office (ensure compliance) has been met,” the letter said.
“Our office wishes to thank the citizen who brought this complaint to our attention and those who assisted Mr. Esplin with conducting this investigation. The citizen and those who supported this investigation are not to blame. In fact, they should be applauded for their efforts. They wanted to ensure that you were held accountable to the people who elected you, Schoppman’s letter said near its conclusion. “I hope that this investigation will serve as a reminder that you are accountable to the people you serve, and you owe them a duty to faithfully obey the laws of this State.”