Gilbert leaders violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law, attorney general probe finds

By Joshua Bowling | Arizona Republic

Gilbert leaders violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law by engaging in an email conversation about the town’s new logo, a probe by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office found.

Gilbert Mayoral candidate Brigette Peterson debates with her opponent Matt Nielson at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix Ariz. on Oct. 15, 2020.

The idea is that conversations about town business should happen publicly. 

Assistant Attorney General Katherine Jessen in an April letter to the Gilbert Town Council and town attorney said Mayor Brigette Peterson and Councilmember Scott Anderson violated the law by sending emails about the new logo to a majority of the Town Council.

State law says members of a public body — such as a City Council or school board — must conduct their meetings in public and publish an agenda beforehand. An email sent to a quorum of the Town Council that either proposes legal action or discusses something they could likely vote on is a clear violation of state law, the letter says.

Peterson emailed the entire Town Council last May about the logo being used on the town’s new public safety training facility off Power and Pecos roads.

Gilbert’s new logo sits on the north side of the town’s new public safety training facility off Power and Pecos roads. Mayor Brigette Peterson in 2021 took issue with the logo’s placement.

“I wonder what your thoughts are on the spending of funds for this on the PTSF? Do you think this is an appropriate use of Town funds?” Peterson wrote to the rest of the Town Council. “I know I was told to ‘Move on’ and ‘Get over it’ but there are things happening with this logo that are not appropriate and I’m appalled. The previous logo was never used in these capacities and I wonder if you were informed this would be happening with this one!”

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