On January 15, 2010 Governor Brewer signed Executive Order 2010-5 extending the Arizona’s Governors Commission on Service and Volunteerism. It stated that “Arizona needs more volunteers to address many of the unmet social, educational, environmental and public safety needs” and that “building and encouraging community volunteer service is an integral part of the state’s future well being” ….
Those are nice sounding words, but the Governors actions betray her words. Her treatment of dedicated, long time volunteers at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum was absolutely shameful.
The mineral museum has operated for decades supported only by a shoestring state budget. Only the ten thousand plus volunteer hours per year have made operation of the museum and its K-12 education programs possible. Many of the volunteers served for decades, and they have made the mineral museum one of the top rated museums in Arizona. People from around the world visit it, and Arizona teachers depend on it for assistance in complying with state mandated earth science education requirements.
When the Governor decided she wanted the building for her Arizona Centennial Museum, she began secret meetings with the Arizona Historical Society and their sole source, out of state contractor. Those secret meetings continued for at least six months. Then, the Governor entered the mineral museum with a small entourage she brought with her and presented the contractors plans. The mineral museum volunteers that happened to be present saw plans that completely obliterated their hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work.
Not only were the volunteers never thanked or even acknowledged, they were insulted. Next, the Governor had an attorney form the Attorney Generals office place them all under a gag order. The gag order prohibited from disclosing any of the information the Governor had presented to her entourage. Presumably, that was done because the Governor had not yet pushed House Bill 2251 through the legislature. That bill eventually transferred all mineral museum assets to the historical society.
The Governors behavior was completely insensitive and quite unbelievable. Surely no public official has ever been so callous toward dedicated volunteers. The completely uncalled for treatment was especially offensive in view of the great contribution this small group of volunteers has made to Arizona and Arizona students.