DECEMBER 19, 2012
Representative Ugenti moves to enhance government entity transparency
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Michelle Ugenti (R-Dist. 23) has introduced legislation requiring organizations such as the Arizona League of Cities and Towns (League) to comply with Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. She proposed this legislation, HB 2005 (political subdivision entities; public access), after experiencing difficulty attempting to get the results of a survey the League commissioned on HB 2826, which consolidated the election dates of council members to the fall of the even year.
As a result, City of Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane requested that the League amend its constitution to require the Executive Committee and other meetings be conducted in a manner consistent with the Open Meeting Law. His request coincided with the City of Phoenix’s decision to renew their membership in the League after initially declining to do so. Initially, Phoenix did not renew its membership due to the concerns of several council members that the League needed to be more transparent.
A political subdivision entity is an entity located in Arizona, created by a political subdivision, with a majority of its membership composed of political subdivisions whose primary purpose is the performance of a government related service. The League is comprised of cities and towns and advocates on behalf of them before the legislature, among other things. It is funded through membership dues paid with local tax dollars and is led by an executive committee of local elected officials.
Mayor Lane stated, “This legislation will ensure that organizations that derive their financial sustenance will now be subject to the same law that applies to all other public entities. I am proud to support Representative Ugenti’s efforts in maintaining the accountability and transparency these bodies have to the taxpayers.”
City of Phoenix Council Member Sal DiCiccio stated, "I applaud Representative Ugenti's efforts to close a hole in Arizona's open government statutes. When taxpayer money is involved, taxpayers have a right to know how and where it's being spent."
Citing the necessity of this legislation, Representative Ugenti stated, “When an organization is funded with tax dollars and takes direction from elected officials to advocate at the legislature, I believe it should operate in the same manner as all other taxpayer funded entities. The legislature, as are cities and towns, is subject to the Open Meeting law and these entities are no different I am thankful to have the support of Mayor Lane and Councilman DiCiccio as we work together to increase transparency and accountability for taxpayers.”