Friday, May 27, 2011

Redistricting update -- May 27

Answers to legal questions posed by mapping consultant bidders have not yet been released, according to IRC executive director Ray Bladine.  He said that would likely necessitate extending the closing date of the RFP (now set for June 2) again.  Which also means they are no closer to setting a date for the next IRC public meeting.

The other simmering issue revolves around Lisa Hauser's angst over losing out on the legal services contract.

On May 19, Hauser sent a letter to Bladine requesting transcripts of IRC meetings held on May 10, 12 and 13.  Apparently, she believes she is entitled to examine confidential information from executive sessions held on those days because she was one of the bidders under consideration.

Aside from the fact that she requested access to that confidential information, her letter can be fairly characterized as lecturing Bladine, and apparently the IRC as a whole.  She cited portions of Arizona Revised Statutes about public records and open meetings (as well as when and for what reasons the IRC may go into executive session). 

I could editorialize for several paragraphs on what I think about Hauser's request.  Beyond that, however, I will say that she obviously knows that the Commission has the right to hire whichever law firms it chooses.  She also most certainly knows access to executive session transcripts would be denied.  And it was, in fact, denied. So, WHY do this?

Hauser likely would NOT try to sue the IRC about awarding a contract to Ballard Spahr.  BUT, state statutes allow a person denied access to public records to file a special action in Superior Court (not the state Supreme Court).  And if the court rules the denial of access was wrongful, Hauser would have a cause of action (may sue) for damages. 

There is your potential litigation to burn through the $3 Million appropriation, which could bring financial pressure to bear on the Commission. 

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