Our investigation revealed that
in December 2005, Irma Potter, Director of Network Development, and Donna
Anderson, former Contracts Coordinator, violated conflict-of-interest laws by
unlawfully accepting a $1,500 ($750 each) cash payment for providing consulting
services to a county vendor. Both county employees improperly received a
financial benefit from this county vendor, while concurrently being in a
position to influence county decisions relating to that vendor’s contract. Even
after the payment was made, both employees continued to inappropriately
participate in monitoring the contract by negotiating, renewing, and
recommending pricing increases to the vendor’s January 2006 contract.
In addition, preceding the
conflict-of-interest violation, from July 2005 to January 2006, Ms. Anderson
inappropriately and without authority instigated two rate increases to the same
county vendor’s contracted rates. As a public official, Ms. Anderson had a
responsibility to prudently manage county assets, but because of her
inappropriate actions, she mishandled public monies by allowing overpayments to
this vendor totaling nearly $34,000.
Anderson resigned in June 2007 and immediately began employment with the vendor
mentioned above. However, as of November 2008, Ms. Potter was still employed
with the County.
submitted our findings to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, and on December
18, 2008, the Pinal County Grand Jury took criminal action against Ms. Potter
and Ms. Anderson. This action resulted in the indictment of both individuals on
one count each of conflict of interest.