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.
Ms. 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.
We 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.