Fri, Feb. 28

Editorial: Camp Verde Council needs to take firm, decisive action against Butner

It’s hard to argue with the logic of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

That needs to be the guiding principle as the Camp Verde Town Council sorts out what to do about Joe Butner’s ambush attack on resident Bruce George last week.

Mr. George was up for a routine re-appointment to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission when Butner produced a one-sided incomplete police report in an attempt to publicly humiliate George.

No criminal charges have been filed against George. The Camp Verde Marshal’s Office closed its investigation into the unsubstantiated accusations made against him.

Since then, George has filed a complaint against Butner, alleging the first-term councilman and former pro-tem Superior Court judge violated “all the rules in the town code of conduct.”

Specifically, Mr. George refers to Section 3.8 A5 of the town code. It states, town council “will not tolerate harassment, personal attacks or discrimination against each other or by members of appointed boards, boards, commissions or committees … elected officials who violate this section may be subject to the provisions of Section 15.11 Sanctions.”

Mr. Butner’s actions Jan. 8 at best represent horrible judgment and abysmal behavior. At worst, they fall under the town code provisions that prohibit harassment and personal attacks.

That being said, the focus is now on the entire Camp Verde Town Council and what its members collectively will do about the way Butner treated Mr. George.

When this unfortunate incident occurred, council members were conspicuously quiet with the exception of Robin Whatley.

Whatley pulled no punches, challenging Butner for what she labeled a lack of decorum, for blind-siding the town manager and for engaging in what she described as character assassination.

Butner is the council member in the hot seat right now, but the integrity of the entire council is under a spotlight in terms of how its members treat this matter.

As stated above, the guiding principle here is rather simple. Would any of the members of the town council like to be treated in the manner Butner chose to treat Mr. George?

Mr. Butner clearly abused the authority of his office.

He should be dealt with accordingly.

The Camp Verde Town Council needs to be firm and decisive in how it deals with this abuse of power.

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