PHOENIX - A yearlong Arizona Attorney General's Office investigation chastised the Surprise City Council for repeatedly violating the state's Open Meeting Law.
The attorney general took the rare step of threatening legal penalties if Surprise does not hire a compliance officer for a year to be sure residents have total access to decisions made by their elected leaders and to put other cities on notice.
The compliance officer must act as a watchdog, attending every council meeting to be sure the law is followed.
The attorney general also has proposed a number of other steps to ensure future problems do not arise.
The Attorney General's Office report confirms accusations by former City Manager Jim Rumpeltes, who in June 2007 publicly blasted his City Council for meeting behind closed doors and operating through threats and coercion.
Rumpeltes' accusations prompted then Mayor Joan Shafer to seek the attorney general's investigation.