Letter to the Editor: Reasons for Woodman recall effort clarified

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald

To Graham County voters and residents,

I am writing this letter to the editor in an effort to clarify answers to questions that have been asked regarding the recall process taking place against Cindy Woodman, Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court.

After her first three months of serving as the Clerk of the Superior Court, Graham County was forced to spend resources to conduct an investigation into the numerous allegations of a toxic and hostile work environment from not only Ms. Woodman’s staff but other county workers and the public. This toxic work environment resulted in seven employees, out of a staff of nine, quitting in Woodman’s first seven months of service. This problem was not resolved and was only exacerbated by Ms. Woodman filing complaints against those individuals.

This conduct continued and it, coupled with Ms. Woodman’s lack of knowledge of court procedures and lack of leadership abilities, compounded the issues that Presiding Judge Michael D. Peterson was confronted with on a daily basis, some of which are listed here: her mishandling evidence and exhibits; attorneys requesting an investigation into perjury charges against her; the ongoing fielding of employee complaints; delays in court proceedings because of the unprecedented amount of employee turnover and incomplete files; harassment of an excused juror; and her continued inability to provide customer service resulting in her turning away customers and/or their payments.

All of these issues caused Presiding Judge Peterson to author a nine-page letter to the Supreme Court listing the problems and conflicts that have arisen under Ms. Woodman’s reign. After Ms. Woodman was given a chance to respond to the letter, Supreme Court Justice Robert Brutinel met with her and issued an Administrative Order giving control of the Clerk’s Office to Judge Peterson. The order not only relieved Ms. Woodman of her administrative and supervisory duties but banned her from returning to the courthouse.

It was rumored that Ms. Woodman was expected to resign, but, as of this writing, she has not resigned and continues to be the Clerk of the Superior Court; and the county, through the use of your tax dollars, is obligated to continue to pay her the annual salary of $63,800, which approximates to $110,000 after adding in the county’s employee-related expenses.

At the present time, the only way an elected official can be removed from office if they choose not to resign is by the recall process or impeachment.

An Application for Recall was filed with the Graham County Elections Director on Sept. 3, and the Recall Committee needs to obtain 2,797 signatures from Graham County registered voters by Jan. 1, 2020, for the recall election to take place. Upon filing these signatures, Ms. Woodman will be given an opportunity to resign; and, if she chooses not to, then a recall election will be called for by the Graham County Board of Supervisors. At that time, anyone wishing to run for the position will be given a chance to turn in his or her nomination papers with the required number of signatures; Ms. Woodman’s name will automatically appear on the recall election ballot.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

As chairman of the Recall Committee, I strongly urge you to contact me or any of the numerous concerned recall committee members to sign a petition so that we can get the necessary signatures we need and file them as soon as possible to expedite this process. It doesn’t matter what political party you are; anyone who is registered to vote in Graham County can sign a petition or even assist with petition circulation. My phone number is 928-792-7477, or I can be reached via Facebook Messenger. I would be happy to guide you to a person near you to get your signature.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any support you are able to give.

Darlee Maylen

Recall Committee Chairman