Town of Camp Verde paid Gardner $45K during investigation
By BILL HELM
CAMP VERDE – In wages and benefits, the Town of Camp Verde paid former Marshal Nancy Gardner about $45,000 to not come to work for four months, Town Manager Russ Martin stated Tuesday in a press release.
From Oct. 23 through March 12, the Town paid Gardner in time and benefits per policy on administrative leaving which according to Martin allowed for a “clear and unbiased/uninfluenced investigation.”
During the time Gardner was on leave, Arizona Department of Public Safety charged roughly $40,000 to investigate Gardner pertaining to charges that she “created and pursued a personal policy of intimidation and fear amongst her subordinates.”
But the Town will not be responsible for this, Martin stated, since DPS provides the investigative service to communities for “numerous investigative purposes.
Martin stated Tuesday that his fiduciary responsibility “is not taken lightly.”
“I understand the cost to the taxpayer,” and “the responsibility to do my best to account for all monies spent in all areas by Town government on behalf and to the benefit of the citizens,” Martin stated. “I do appreciate those directly involved, the rest of staff as well the citizens who allowed for this investigation to move forward without interference or influence and afforded the Arizona Department of Public Safety to complete this substantial request from myself.”
Gardner officially resigned her position on March 12.
“As Town manager, I will always be as transparent as possible when the time comes to do so,” Martin stated. “I hope that now that this has concluded, the answers that I was seeking along with everyone else, rightfully so and generally with good intentions, can now move forward.”
As of press time, Gardner was not available for comment.
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CAMP VERDE – Former Camp Verde Marshal Nancy Gardner will not seek reinstatement, the Town of Camp Verde announced Tuesday morning in a press release.
Gardner, who was not available for comment, was officially removed from her job on March 12 after a four-month investigation by Arizona Department of Public Safety that determined she “created and pursued a personal policy of intimidation and fear amongst her subordinates in an attempt to maintain her position,” Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin stated in a March 7 press release.
Martin said Tuesday that following “ongoing discussions” since March 7, Gardner “has effectively resigned her position.”
“She’s not going to return, period,” Martin said. “Nancy left on her own terms.”
According to Martin, it is Town protocol to allow an employee the opportunity to resign rather than to be terminated.
“Though we generally do that with everyone, not everyone takes it,” Martin said.
For Gardner, Martin did not specify but he said that his former marshal has “opportunities in her future, a future career [that would benefit] without the statement of fired [on her resume], as opposed to resigning.”
“She earned that respect, and she deserves that respect,” Martin said.
Martin also said that Commander Brian Armstrong will continue as interim marshal. Armstrong was named interim marshal when Gardner was placed on administrative leave with pay on Oct. 23.
Although the Town of Camp Verde’s personnel policy affords Gardner the opportunity to file an appeal to a hearing officer, the former marshal told Martin on March 12 that she would not appeal.
Gardner joined the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office in January 2012 after having served as lieutenant and division commander with the Avondale Police Department.