BY MELISSA PRICE | MAY 9, 2012
Carefree Vice-Mayor did ‘NOT’ violate Open Meeting Law
During “Meet the Candidates Night” over a year ago I stated I am not a “GOB” (Good Ole Boy), nor an “SOB” (Sorchych Ole’ Boy). I want nothing to do with “Gotcha Politics” or those kind of past town representatives who seem to revel in it. I also strongly suspect the majority of Carefree citizens feel the same.
A former Carefree Councilman, Bob Coady, recently wrote a Sonoran News ‘Letter to the Editor’ saying I publicly stated I had violated the Open Meeting Law, which was subsequently followed by a Linda Bentley article on the same subject. I’m writing this rebuttal to state emphatically that is NOT TRUE – the entire ‘staggered terms’ issue was brought up in a November 25 public Town Hall Meeting, and every council member present expressed their opinion in favor of staggered terms. It only makes sense when there were five (5) new council members just voted into office! Five new people had to quickly learn how our ‘small-town local government’ works, as well as review and understand all the major contracts – the budget, Fire Department, Water Company, Public Works, the Court, marketing, planning, and get up to speed on Town zoning, ordinances, and state statutes, etc.
The Town Attorney reviewed statements made regarding staggered terms, and confirmed I stated ‘my opinion’ and committed no Open Meeting Law violation. My opinion was based on conversations with newly elected Council Members BEFORE we were even sworn in, and answers made by almost every Council Member to questions by the public during the Town Hall Meeting in November. There was no ‘quorum’ formed to “propose legal action”– we were ALL in agreement it was a good idea to “bring this before the public for discussion.”
The new Council Members understand the value of providing continuity for future councils by staggering the election of new Council Members. No one is a ‘career politician’ in this little town – citizens can easily vote people out, or recall them – even with staggered terms! Staggered terms just make good business sense.
It seems that former Councilman Coady wants to try and drag me into a rerun of “The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s,” which makes me wonder ... what motivates this kind of person? It does make one wonder if there is not enough drama in some people’s lives that they have to manufacture it; even while publically (sic) admitting that the State Attorney General dismissed the many past complaints about the previous Council regarding violations of the Open Meeting Law. Okay, folks, do you REALLY believe the State Attorney General is going to risk his career for a lunch at Harold’s!? (As alleged by the former Councilman in his Letter to the Editor.)
I happen to believe that every member on the current Council LOVES THIS TOWN. We are all UNPAID volunteers. It’s because we LOVE the town, do not want to see it deteriorate, and think we can add value.
Yes, these Council Members actually talk to one another! Imagine that! Usually one-on-one and they brainstorm—they listen, and make each other think with new perspectives. We have accomplished many objectives over the last year – reducing major contract fees, paying off debt, and revitalizing the Town Center. It’s called ‘Team Work’.
No one is evilly ‘plotting’ ... to do what?! Provide good solutions to REAL issues, and informed choices for the citizens? Yes, I can proudly tell you our motivation is to make the town of Carefree an even better place to live.
Carefree is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, safe, and well-run Towns in the state of Arizona, and I am very proud to be a part of this council – a council with a vision for the next 10-50 years that revitalizes our Town Center while maintaining our unique charm and providing FREE town services (e.g., fire protection, roads) – all ‘without a property tax’ in Carefree.
We are nearing the end of this Council’s term and it appears the wanna-bees think the only way to run their own election is to bash current Council members. How sad ... just run and tell people what you bring to the table, provide solutions for issues – rather than trying to create controversy, or perform character assassinations.
The citizens of Carefree are more intelligent than being given credit for – they deserve better than lame, gutter politics.
Melissa Price is the Vice Mayor of Carefree. You can reach her at ViceMayor@carefree.org.