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Final ethics hearing May 17 for Granite Shoals mayor

Outgoing Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia

Outgoing Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia listens as the City Council deliberates on the appointment of a new member to the city’s Ethics Review Commission. The commission will hold its final hearing on a complaint filed against Garcia in March. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals Ethics Review Commission will hold its final hearing on a complaint filed against outgoing Mayor Aaron Garcia at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, in City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. 

The deadline for the last hearing as per the city’s Ethics Ordinance was May 12, but because of extenuating circumstances, City Attorney Joshua Katz said the committee should proceed anyway. The delay came about when one of the three commissioners suddenly resigned and had to be replaced. 

Garcia will no longer be mayor at the time of the hearing as he did not run for re-election. Mayor-elect Kiel Arnone will be sworn in during a special meeting of the City Council on Tuesday.

A complaint alleging that Garcia failed to fulfill a public information request was made on March 16 by Suzanne Ort, the wife of Place 6 Councilor Phil Ort, who was himself censured by the committee for failure to fulfill a PIR last year. The commission was originally formed in 2022 to hear complaints against Ort.

In Garcia’s case, a preliminary hearing on April 12 determined there was enough evidence to move forward to a final hearing. 

On Wednesday, commissioners are expected to decide if they believe Garcia, intentionally or not, failed to fulfill a public information request. If they find against him, they could choose among several levels of written reprimands or make recommendations to the council regarding further punishment.

Garcia has repeatedly refuted the complaint against him. He is specifically accused of not including two email attachments in response to a public information request from City Secretary Dawn Wright regarding his communications with executive recruitment firm Strategic Government Resources. Garcia attempted to provide evidence of his email exchange with City Attorney Katz, showing that he included the attachments in question, but this evidence was not admitted due to a breach in protocol that requires all materials be submitted to the Ethics Review Commission at least seven days prior to a preliminary hearing.