VACANCY ON PRESCOTT CITY COUNCIL
Courtesy of Save the Dells, 1/18/21
On Tuesday January 12, 2021, City Council voted (4 to 2 in favor, with Cathey Rusing and Phil Goode opposed) to appoint someone to fill the seat for the entire unexpired portion of Billie Orr’s elected term (about 33 months) instead of allowing the public to vote for their representative in November.
This will put someone in that seat for nearly 3 years without being elected by the voters of this City.
Once again, the Council acted against the wishes of Prescott residents and contrary to historic precedent, despite significant public input and a strong editorial in the Daily Courier supporting an appointment only until November 2021.
We find the decision reprehensible, self‑serving, and limiting to public input and participation in the process, and everyone who agrees needs to speak up. We hoped that 2021 would be a year of greater transparency in the Council chambers, but it appears that City Attorney Paladini, Mayor Mengarelli, and Councilmembers Sischka, Scholl, and Blair would prefer to keep us in the dark. Consider submitting a Letter to the Editor or Rant to the Courier, and/or emailing the mayor and offending council members to let them know that you expect better from them as your representatives.
OUTCRY MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR A PUBLIC FEBRUARY 9TH MEETING. WE WANT THE INITIAL DELIBERATIONS ON FEBRUARY 2ND TO BE PUBLIC, TOO! Initially, all meetings on the council seat decision were to be held behind closed doors, but your letters, Rants, and phone calls influenced the council to voice support for conducting the interviews with finalists on February 9 in public.
POOR DECISIONS FOR REPLACEMENT ARE EXPECTED –We expect that the majority of the current council will choose someone who will not put the best interests of the people first. Contrary to Steve Blair’s suggestion, former councilmember Jim Lamerson would be unsuitable, as he had already served for 16 years and was voted out of office by the public in 2019. Appointing him would be blatant disregard for the public’s choice for a council seat.
TELL CITY LEADERSHIP TO DO THE RIGHT THING –Because the public will not choose the appointee, and the appointment will last for 33 months, it is even more critical that this person represents the general public. Insist all candidate meetings are public, so we will know that all applicants were considered fairly. A decision to fill the seat will most likely be finalized on February 23, 2021. We strongly encourage you to follow the process closely. We will keep you updated as much as possible through newsletters and on social media. As always, your participation is integral to our success.
DO YOU WANT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE VACANCY? Interested citizens may access the application on the city website at the following link: Prescott City Council Details or by contacting the City Clerk’s Office.
The application filing deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27, 2021. For more information on the vacancy, visit the City’s website at www.prescott-az.gov or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 928-777-1245.