FLORENCE — After numerous speakers implored the county to take action against Johnson Utilities, the Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to intervene in the case by state regulators against the utility regarding water quality and billing issues.
This is a different Arizona Corporation Commission docket item than a pending rate case, which the county already had decided to intervene in.
That case includes an order to show cause, which will go to evidentiary hearing on April 16.
In this hearing, the utility will have to show why the ACC should not appoint an interim manager to run the utility.
Becoming an intervener makes someone or entity a party to the case, which comes with rights and responsibilities.
Interveners have the right to participate in discovery and present evidence in the form of witnesses, documents and testimony and to cross-examine other witnesses.
This creates the responsibility to participate in all proceedings (in some circumstances this can be done telephonically) and have the evidence and testimony subject to cross-examination.
The most important difference between public comment and intervening is that in public comment, while a comment is considered, it is not entered into the record as evidence, and it is not awarded the weight of sworn testimony, since a person making public comment is not under oath or subject to cross-examination.
Citizen John Dantico handed over a report that he said was the result of a years-long investigation into the county’s actions in regard to Johnson Utilities and calls for an investigation into how Pinal County officials conducted themselves in response to Johnson Utilities’ hydrogen sulfide violations.
“County officials failed to make decisions in the interest of the common good, and instead acted in the interest of Johnson Utilities,” Dantico said.
“County officials were either unbelievably naive, incompetent or corrupt.”
Dantico said that his intent is to give officials the opportunity to clear the air and asked that the county conduct an investigation and prepare a report that responds to the questions lined out in the report within 60 days.
Monica Cara spoke as well, calling out Supervisor Pete Rios for an email that was discovered by a records request where Rios told his assistant to “Tell him I could give a s- — how a sewer pond works.
“No, not really don’t call him,” in response to calls from citizens about the Section 11 plant. I find it really disturbing that verbatim, ‘don’t give a s---.’ You need to do your job better sir, you need to give a s---,” Cara said.
Rios responded by saying it was just a joke between him and his assistant and that the issue was under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Corporation Commission and not the Board of Supervisors.
The board voted unanimously to intervene in the ACC case.
That same day, the Queen Creek Town Council voted to intervene in the case as well. Florence voted Monday to intervene.
Supervisor Mike Goodman will be holding an informative meeting for those who wish to serve as witnesses at 6 p.m. Friday at 33622 N. Mountain Vista Blvd.