Now is the time to take a stand with Transparent Payson.Who we are:
We are citizens of Payson, Arizona, striving to make our local government more transparent. We believe in the people voting on what happens with their money, their land, and their town. We believe that elected officials are there to serve the public; as such, we should have a voice in making decisions that affect us all. We are nonpartisan/bipartisan with no party affiliation, no hidden agenda. We believe in Payson, Arizona, and its future. We support growth that will better serve all its citizens while remaining financially sound. As a 527 nonprofit PAC, we were responsible for successfully enacting Propositions 401 and 402 in 2018. A short history of our group can be found here.
Fundamentally, we are responsible for Propositions 401 and 402 and their defense. We have been compelled to become a voters' rights group in that defense. The implications for Payson appear limited to the validity of Propositions 401 and 402 and their enactment. At the state level, we suspect the implications of our effort have a much more significant impact. That is, do citizens, as allowed by law, have the ability to initiate law? Is that law then valid? Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?
There was recently an attempt by the Town of Payson to repeal these ballot initiatives. With the help of an attorney, we are fighting that effort in Superior Court; we still have much work to do to defend your voting rights.
We are defending the rights of Payson citizens on large-scale, publicly funded projects that may be placed on public lands via long-term leases to third parties. Our goal is NOT to prevent such projects but to ensure transparency in all negotiations, discussions, and contracts that affect your town. If the citizens approve the funding through an election, or if the citizens approve the lease of public land to complete the project, we would support that effort. We are protecting YOU – the voter.
Our vision is that our leaders provide all the information as to the proposed spending of Town money as well as the utilization of Town property so that we, the citizens, can choose how and where our money and our land are utilized.
We welcome YOUR involvement in this process. Dare we say, support the cause.
I appreciate your consideration.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!
Thank you for endorsing this campaign!
August 17, 2023
Research and public records can be a wonderful thing. There is an outstanding case regarding the development of Rumsey Park and the agreement with Varxity. As you will recall, we discussed a motion for summary judgment filed by the Town of Payson that relied, in part, on the passage of Propositions 401 and 402. That discussion may be found here. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment. In that motion, Plaintiff (Varxity) states:23. Opposed. The voter-initiated propositions (Propositions 401 and 402) did not restrict the Town's ability to lease property and the Town treated those propositions as ineffective and unconstitutional. (Deposition of Town of Payson (Troy Smith) attached hereto as Exhibit A, 49:7 – 50:20.)
Plaintiff included exhibits that included a partial transcript of the deposition of Town Manager Troy Smith. That deposition occurred on February 3rd, 2022, that was a year before the motion to repeal by Town Council. Well, 433 days before, to be exact.
When asked if the Propositions would apply to the development of Rumsey Park, Mr. Smith states:401 and 402, in our town attorney's opinion, are unconstitutional, and they do not apply to the Town government. They should not have been authorized to have been on the ballot because the citizens did not have the authority, as provided by Arizona state statute or by the constitution of Arizona, to have been referred to the ballot in the first place.
The Town has long disregarded the validity of the Propositions. Although adopted Town Code at the time, it appears that Mr. Smith has little regard for the validity of the Propositions. Perhaps Mr. Smith and the Town of Payson, by extension, are judge, jury, and executioner on all things constitutional in Arizona and the will of the citizens they were hired to serve. The Town had effectively repealed the Propositions in practice based only on the opinion of Town Legal. Town Code and the voters' will can, and apparently will, be disregarded.
The Town Manager acts under Town Council's direction; it seems not all direction has equal weight. To reference the Town's website, "The Town Manager is responsible for carrying out the policies, ordinances, and resolutions of the Council, and for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Town." The Town Council's authorization of the purported repeal did not occur until April 12th, 2023. It seems odd that the Town Manager or Town staff could take such a position before the purported repeal by Town Council. We wonder under what authority that was done. It seems beyond a town manager's authority to act unilaterally. Perhaps that is a topic for the elected Town Councilors to have during employment contract renewal.Your money – NOT YOUR LAND – NOT YOUR VOTE.