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PSPRS committee meeting canceled over politics; Campbell to meet as ‘town hall’ anyway

The Wednesday, July 26, meeting of the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) in Prescott is still on but will be a town hall meeting, said Rep. Noel Campbell.

Campbell, who is the chairman of the ad hoc committee, said: “We’re still on for tomorrow. We’re going to meet and discuss the issues and answer questions” – town hall style.

“I am going to be there to explain to these people, have the presentation … we’re going to go ahead,” he said. “What really irks me is at the last minute the meeting is canceled.”

Early Tuesday, the meeting was canceled by the Speaker of the House.

“It would be more accurate to say it’s been postponed,” Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard, R-District 17 (Chandler-Gilbert), said of the PSPRS Ad Hoc Committee meeting that was slated for Wednesday evening in Prescott.

Mesnard said Tuesday he does not want local politics to be affected, nor vice versa does he want this issue to get bogged down.

“Frequent testifiers before the committee are too tangled in local Prescott politics,” he said. “This is a statewide issue, and with the (Prescott) election, early ballots going out, we don’t want this committee to be perceived as affecting the local politics.”

Prescott voters are poised to decide Aug. 29 on a sales-tax increase measure, Proposition 443, which is designed to help pay down the city’s PSPRS unfunded liability of more than $78 million.

Campbell clarified that there will be a meeting Wednesday night, it just will not be sanctioned by the state as an ad hoc committee meeting. It will instead be “two representatives sharing information about the pension (PSPRS) issue.”

“I personally support Prop 443, (Rep. David) Stringer opposes it,” Campbell said. “We’re going to talk and listen to people who need to know all sides of the issue.”

Campbell, who is the committee chairman while Stringer is the vice chair – both who represent the Prescott area, added that having people informed is the main goal.

“I am often told the legislature has to do something about this (PSPRS). We’re trying,” Campbell said.

Stringer was not immediately available for comment.

Mesnard said a meeting coming up in Phoenix, in the middle of August, is “where a new schedule will be hammered out” for the committee meetings.

Mesnard said the remaining committee meetings will be more of a listening and education tour. He said, after speaking with Campbell early on Tuesday, they plan to “come up with a better way to organize the schedule.”

Campbell said the town hall on PSPRS is slated for 5 p.m., Wednesday, July 26, in the Prescott High School’s Ruth Street auditorium.

Watch the Courier for details.

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