FLORENCE — Pinal County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, began Wednesday’s meeting with a denunciation of a blog post criticizing him, followed by criticism of the supervisor whose name was on the post, Kevin Cavanaugh, R-Coolidge.
Miller said at one point, “I feel sorry” for Cavanaugh’s constituents, and that residents of Cavanaugh’s district may call him if they need help, “because you’re not being represented. … Mr. Cavanaugh has interrupted the workflow in this county, has people on edge all the time.”
As Cavanaugh called for a point of order, the rest of the board voted to suspend its usual rules for the conduct of meetings. Debates on the rules continued throughout Wednesday’s meeting, including interrupting an awards presentation for half an hour.
Miller disagreed with a blog post that was distributed by email Tuesday, which stated he “unilaterally removed prayer” from the board’s meetings. He said the pastor scheduled to deliver the invocation at the board’s Oct. 27 meeting had not arrived, and he opted to move on to the next item. The board did hear an invocation at Wednesday’s meeting.
“As a devoted follower of Christ, prayer is essential and has been a prominent foundation for our country and part of the board meeting process for years,” Miller said. Because of recent citizen concerns, he said he has been working with the county’s legal team to craft a “strong and sound invocation policy” for board meetings for generations to come.
In “call to the public,” Tom Bean and Noel Reck, both of Casa Grande, suggested a moment of silence as a better alternative to an invocation.
Returning to Tuesday’s email, Miller said, “This brings into question my character, and I’ll stand my character up to anybody in this room.” He said this type of “character assassination” interferes with the board’s work.
Cavanaugh responded that before Wednesday’s meeting began, he had apologized to Miller for the post and said although his name was on it, he didn’t write it. “He knows that I didn’t write that post.” Cavanaugh explained that he had given his approval for “some guys” to start a blog for county information, and “they registered it in my name.” He said when Tuesday’s post came out, he objected but, “it looks like I wrote this thing.”
Cavanaugh continued that he further told his associates not to attack other supervisors. He said he now has the login and password of the blog “so I can have control over this thing.”
Steve Abraham, Pinal County planning manager, was presenting awards the county received from the Arizona Planning Association and the American Planning Association when the board went behind closed doors for legal advice on the rules governing meetings. When they returned to the public, Supervisor Jeff McClure, R-Eagle Crest Ranch, made a motion to reinstate the rules except for one.
“This is what Democrat Socialists do,” Cavanaugh said. “If the rules don’t fit the needs, they change the rules.” The board’s own rules have precedence over the widely used “Robert’s Rules of Order.” But Cavanaugh said the board has “Robert’s Rules” to protect minority rights. He said he may be in the minority on the board as he tries to defend freedom. “This protects my minority voice.”
McClure eventually rescinded his motion and asked to fully reinstate the board’s rules, and the entire board agreed.
The board again sought clarification of its rules later in the meeting, including another closed-door recess for legal advice, when Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, at first declined to state his vote on an item.
In other business, Pinal County Manager Leo Lew reminded the board and attendees that Pinal County will have a ceremony to honor its veterans at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10 in front of the Second Pinal County Courthouse on Pinal Street. If the board meeting runs long, it will be held immediately following the meeting.