They Have But One Duty


Payson has such a wealth of knowledge in the community.  We first realized that six years ago as we drafted and circulated the petitions, known as Propositions 401 and 402.  This pool of knowledge undoubtedly reflects the median age, which is 59.8 years old.

There are many intelligent people and so much life experience to draw from.  As a community, we should embrace that remarkable resource.  Transparent Payson, as a group, has learned so much from various people with unique backgrounds.  We welcome and appreciate their input; it is invaluable.  As a recent example, a supporter pointed out that the Town Council may have violated an Arizona Supreme Court ruling from 1934 in Button v. Nevin, 44 Ariz. 247.  The Council may have also violated Chapter 2, Section 4 of the Public Officers Employee Handbook.

Here is the snapshot version of that case from the handbook.

2.4 Duties and Responsibilities of Public Officers.
Public officers must impartially execute all laws and rules for which they are responsible.  The Arizona Supreme Court stated as follows in Button v. Nevin, 44 Ariz. 247, 257, 36 P.2d 568, 571 (1934):

“Public officials may not violate the plain terms of a statute because in their opinion better results will be attained by doing so. They have but one duty, and that is to enforce the law as it is written, and, if the effect of their action is disastrous, the responsibility is upon the Legislature and not upon them.”


“They have but one duty.”  That is a powerful statement.


One duty.  Does a repeal of the voters’ will reflect that duty?   We discussed this concern previously.  Town Council, arguing against the validity of the vote or the election, would not seem to embody “the power to be heard” in a democracy.  Does Town Legal, Mr. Paladini, or the Town Manager, Mr. Smith, have to abide by that duty?  Did Mr. Paladini adhere to that duty when he argued for the purported repeal to the Town Council?  Did Mr. Smith do so when he outlined the Town’s position in a depositionThe voters can decide.

You can find the full case text in the .pdf below.  The case has various citations; if you are inclined, you can learn more here.  We also attach a full copy of the Public Officers Employee Handbook in .pdf below.

Co-plaintiff Nichols has elected to withdraw from the suit.  The process of litigation on any issue is not for everybody.  The portion of the suit that the co-plaintiff was involved in was based on using an “emergency ordinance” that precluded a referendum on the Council vote.  All elements of the use of the emergency declaration have been removed.  We are now left with only the issues of the purported repeal.

An amended complaint has been filed with the court.  As these are public records, we have attached a full copy of the amended complaint in .pdf below.  The hearing will likely be scheduled in mid-September.  We understand that the Judge is out of Saint Johns; the hearing will be in Payson.  Once scheduled, we will get the details out.

We welcome YOUR involvement in this process.  Dare we say, support the cause.

We appreciate your continued support.


Chapter 2, Section 4 of the Public Officers Employee Handbook

082623 agency_handbook_chapter_2

Button v. Nevin, 44 Ariz. 247

082623 Button v. Nevin

First Amended Verified Complaint for Special Action/Injunctive Relief

082423 Stipulation and summary for upload