CAMP VERDE, Arizona (SmallTownPapers) -- A group of bus drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they say has been a three-month effort to get paid for services they performed along with other vendors during the 2011 Sedona Jazz on the Rocks festival.

Shiela Daniels works as a bus driver for the Camp Verde Unified School District. That's where she and around 10 other drivers heard about the opportunity to make a little extra cash working for a weekend driving people from the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood up to the 30th annual Jazz on the Rocks, held Oct. 7 and 8 at the Sedona Golf Resort.

The work was totally separate from their work with the school district, although they did drive local school buses which were used as shuttles through a separate arrangement between the district and the jazz festival organizers.

Daniels said she used to work for Poco Diablo, the resort hotel where the festival was held for many years before moving to the golf course.

"It was never a problem to have people paid back then," Daniels said.

Fellow bus driver Jennifer Dutton agreed. Dutton said she's done the same job in the past for the festival and the paychecks were promptly delivered.

But now, with three months since the festival took place, Daniels said she feels like the drivers are getting the runaround.

All told, the 11 Camp Verde drivers who agreed to work, not volunteer, for the festival worked just over a combined total of 155 hours. They're owed $1,866 based on an agreed upon rate of $12 an hour, Daniels said, money that she said was supposed to be paid no more than two weeks after the event. Daniels said that other vendors and workers have yet to be paid as well.

Ben Miller, board member with Jazz on the Rocks, said there are two sides to every story and that he also wants to see the issue resolved.

Miller also said that Jazz on the Rocks is actively working on a plan and expects that details will be released publicly, possibly as early as this week.

"Our game plan is to get together with the local people up there, and formulate a plan to get all of the local vendors paid," Miller said. "I can't really comment on it right now."

In a series of emails between himself and Daniels, Miller said he's acting as a sort of middle man to try and get to the bottom of the matter.

In a Dec. 19 email, Miller wrote, "We are finalizing our reconciliation today and should be able to have checks to vendors including you and your fellow bus drivers by the end of the week."

That hasn't happened yet, and Daniels said she's been told there will be another meeting soon.

Meetings are well and good, but Daniels would rather get a paycheck.

In a Dec. 3 email, Miller states that the Jazz on the Rocks board has been working to resolve the issue of the bus drivers and other unpaid vendors who worked at the festival.

Daniels said she didn't actually work as much as some of the other drivers, but she feels responsible somewhat since she she helped convince many of her co-workers to sign up for the gig.

In the meantime, Daniels' frustration has boiled over into the threat of potential legal action if something isn't done to pay the bus drivers.

A promotional company out of the Phoenix area that was involved with the festival, BTW Concerts, has also been working to get payment for themselves and for the other vendors, according to a Jan. 11 email written to Daniels by Heath McCarter with the company.

"We would like to inform you we were unable to get a successful resolution with Sedona Jazz on the Rocks to get you paid for the services you provided. Like you, we were hired by Sedona Jazz on the Rocks to work the event and have not been paid for our services either," McCarter wrote. "We are now seeking legal action against Sedona Jazz on the Rocks for damages they have done. We are also offering cooporation with you to help you get paid for the services you provided for them."

Daniels and her fellow drivers don't have a particular desire to see the matter dragged into court. They just want what they're owed.

Mark Lineberger

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