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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/16/2009 3:10:00 PM
Crossover: Camp Verde closes cross controversy
Norma Garrison
Norma Garrison

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter


CAMP VERDE - The controversy over a cross that hung in the town gymnasium for more than four years arrived on the Camp Verde political scene with a bang, just two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, it left with barely a whimper.

What had shaped up to be a showdown between council member Norma Garrison and Town Manager Mike Scannell never materialized.

Of the two items Garrison had put on the agenda to discuss, a discussion of the display of religious symbols on Town property took just two minutes.

Garrison made an attempt to pull the second item in which she had asked for an accounting of the events that led up to and followed the removal of the cross by Town staff.

Garrison said she based her request to remove the agenda item on the numerous e-mails she had received following her return from vacation.

However, council member Carol German insisted the item be heard, citing the amount of town staff time and expense dedicated to fulfilling Garrison's requests.

In preparation of Garrison's two agenda items, town staff had prepared a 68-page document, including the personal recollection of events by three staff members and numerous supporting documents.

Town Attorney Bill Sims had also prepared a legal opinion, which was to have been part of the discussion.

The Town has yet to estimate how much staff time or legal expenses were used.

German also insisted the item be heard because she felt Scannell deserved to have his name cleared of Garrison's accusations.

Garrison has made several public statements over the last two weeks accusing Scannell of acting outside of his authority and insisting the matter should have been a policy decision of the council.

"It's unfortunate it escalated to this," German said. "I feel a disservice has been done to the manger. We hired an extremely competent manager to get our town in order. We have to trust him and his staff to do the job."

Once the discussion began, it was clear that Garrison was the only council member with any objections to the manager's actions.

"Mike handled it exactly as it should have been handled," Jackie Baker said. "Hopefully the community understands it and we can put this behind us."

Council members Robin Whatley, Bob Kovacovich and Pete Roulette also expressed support for Scannell's actions.

For her part, Garrison apologized for some of her actions but let it be known she was agreeing to disagree.

"I'm really sorry," she said. "I thought this was a policy issue. I didn't know all this was going to happen, You are still the man of the hour. I'm not giving up on you. Don't give up on me. Not everyone is going to agree on the issue, but I am hoping it has been resolved."

Mayor Bob Burnside got in the last word.

"I have learned, like the country song says, if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything," he said. "I have also learned we can't always do what we want to do. And I am pleased it is over with."

Related Stories:
• Editorial: Cross flak boils down to being understanding and respectful
• Cross supporters march on Camp Verde Town Hall
• Cross controversy grows in Camp Verde
• Editorial: Constitution is Camp Verde's cross to bear


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2009
Article comment by: Deb Darby

Good for you, Carol German! Your support of your town manager bodes well for Camp Verde!



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