Ignored ADA Requests Cost Payson Taxpayers $11.6M
By Steve Otto
October 13, 2022 – In my casual perusal of the agenda for the Payson Town Council meeting nothing initially raised any warning flags.  Call to the Public— check. B-1 Approve the minutes of meetings held May 5, 2022, and May 12, 2022. (A five month delay seems to be the Payson standard.)— Check. C-1 Town Manager report, everything is okey dokey. — Check. D-1 several where-as, and so resolved – Check.
Then they get to D-7, ADA Transition Plan, Progress Report , power point presentation,  and the report by consultants Kimley Horn titled “Town of Payson Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Self-Evaluation & Transition Plan.”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In March of 2022 a Payson resident named Mark Davies emailed many candidates for town government and Michele Nelson at the Roundup with his experience trying to get the Town of Payson to replace some signage and repaint some handicap parking spaces at Green Valley Park. Mr. Davies felt it would cost less than $200.00 to make the repairs. 
July of 2020 Mr. Davies sent emails to all of the Payson Town Council, Town Manager, Parks Director, Nelson Beck, and others but received excuses and dismissive responses.  His final attempt at resolution of this matter was an email dated July 28, 2020, to Sheila DeSchaaf. Sheila responded, “I’ve shared your concerns with the new director. Parks has numerous unfunded maintenance needs and competing interests every year—with this year being no exception. Late in 2020 the Town will begin updating our Corporate Strategic Plan, which establishes the priorities for annual budgeting. Given your professional expertise …” 
Armed with a plethora of dismissive communications Mr. Davies filed an ADA Complaint with the US Department of Justice  and received a reply August 21, 2020, signed by Dana L. Jackson, ADA Mediation Program Officer.  Mr. Davies signed the mediation agreement with the Key Bridge Foundation. October 14, 2020, Key Bridge Foundation sent a letter to the Town Manager, Town of Payson citing complaint #20 DRS-08-03 2AZ295, Davies vs. Town of Payson: Green Valley Park. 
Someone from Payson Town Government had to sign the agreement to accept mediation by Oct, 23, 2020. Repeated Freedom of Information Requests have been filed with the Town of Payson as to who signed and approved the mediation agreement with Key Bridge Foundation but all have been returned marked, “Nothing Found”. 
The mediation process took place in Sacramento, CA and Payson had legal representation for the hearing, but Freedom of Information Act requests for the lawyer’s name and compensation to the lawyer came back with ‘no information’.  Mr. Davies claimed Payson was responsible for $11,000,000 in repairs to resolve the case.
Information regarding this case was made public March 2020 on KMOG’s Forum radio show. People in a position of authority within Payson Town government who knew the details of this settlement repeatedly called the reporting ‘misinformation’, or worse, plain ‘false’ .
The Kimley Horn’s report shows in detail the nature of the $11,577,597 Payson has to spend to resolve the ADA issue. 
The Town of Payson, Mayor Tom Morrissey, the Payson Town Council, Sheila DeSchaaf and others owe Mr. Mark Davies and citizens of Payson a written letter of apology for denying the facts of his allegations. I applaud Mr. Mark Davies for shining a light on a subject the town of Payson wanted buried. He is truly a Payson Patriot.
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