Call for Action – Prescott City Council Vacancy

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7 mins read

On Jan. 8, Save the Dells published this information.  Prescott Indivisible agrees with the content and requests that our members take action.

It is critical you TAKE ACTION TODAY on the first area of concern in this newsletter, the process of filling the vacant council seat.
Tell the City to choose Option B and that the meeting where the candidates are interviewed and voted on should be
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
(in person or virtually). 

We continue to assist Save the Dells in their important work.
We need to have a Councilperson appointed who is aware of the other environmental issues facing the city. 

 

Councilwoman Billie Orr has announced her intention to resign from the Prescott City Council effective January 19, 2021 due to health reasons. The City issued a press release detailing the situation.
 
This is very significant, and next Tuesday, January 12th starts a time-sensitive “process” to replace her, a decision falling to the remaining city council members, not the citizens.

The City Charter and precedent should dictate the appropriate process, but we have three areas of concern:

  1. The process for choosing the replacement,
  2. Who is chosen to replace Ms. Orr, and
  3. For how long that replacement will serve. 

Prescott’s developer-friendly council majority may be planning to choose a replacement that will undermine our work and violate the public trust. Therefore, it is critical you TAKE ACTION TODAY on the process of filling the vacant council seat. Please continue reading to understand what could happen and what you can do.

THE PROCESS & TERM OF SERVICE
The Prescott City Charter Article II Section 12 addresses this situation. It states that

“The Council, by a majority vote of its remaining members, shall fill the vacancies in its own membership and in the office of mayor by either of the following:

  1. Appointment for the unexpired term.
  2. Appointment until the next November when Council members are seated, if the vacancy occurs more than thirty days before the nomination petition deadline for the primary election. The nomination process provided by state election law shall be followed by candidates for such vacancy and shall be designated on the primary, and general if necessary, ballot as running for the ‘short term.’”

In other words, the Council can choose one of the two options.

  • Option A has the individual serve out the entire unexpired term, which in this case is nearly three years. 

A person whom the citizens did not elect could be chosen to serve three years! We disagree, in our opinion that is NOT the logical conclusion.

  • In Option B, the individual serves until the newly elected council members are seated after the next election this November. The Charter states that if the vacancy occurs more than 30 days before the deadline to file nominating petition signatures, then Option B would apply. However, the city attorney has stated that even if this criterion is met, the Council can still choose either option!
  • We disagree, as that is not the logical conclusion, and it does not follow precedent from previous similar situations. If Option B is chosen, the appointed person would serve until November 2021, at which time the voters would choose who occupies the two-year council seat.

Option B is the appropriate choice!

According to a proposed timeline, which will likely be approved by Council on January 12th, there will be a February 2nd Special Executive Session to review submitted applications and select candidates to interview. Then on February 9th, another executive session will be held to conduct interviews and select a candidate. 

Both the February 2nd and February 9th meetings should be public meetings, not executive sessions held behind closed doors.

Please act immediately and let the Mayor, City Council members, City Manager, and City Attorney know that

  1. The selected candidate should only serve until November 2021, when the citizens of Prescott can elect the candidate of their choice. A few city council members should not choose who will serve our community for three years!
  2. The meetings on February 2nd and 9th should be open to the public. Transparency creates trust!

Mayor Greg Mengarelli
The City Council
City Manager Michael Lamar
City Attorney Jon Paladini
 Please also consider writing a Letter to the Editor or submit a “Rant and Rave” to the CourierTODAY in order for publication before the Tuesday meeting.

THE REPLACEMENT
Another time-sensitive issue is choosing the best candidate to fill the vacancy. This will be decided in the next few weeks.

With that in mind, we are asking State Representative Noel Campbell to apply for this vacancy. He is retiring after his current term ends, which is right before this appointment is made. 

He is a very strong supporter of Save the Dells and the goals of a successful AED annexation along with the creation of a Granite Dells Regional Park and Preserve. He loves Prescott and is concerned about our future, including our precious water supply and the extent and quality of growth in our community, all of which affect our quality of life. He has many connections at the State level. He would be a tremendous asset to the leadership of our community. 

Prescott Indivisible plans to keep providing our membership with details about why we should support him, and it will be extremely urgent that the public respond to the City Council and Mayor, City Attorney Jon Paladini, and City Manager Michael Lamar in support of Noel Campbell’s application.

Start a discussion on:
 TWITTER @IndivisPrescott

 Facebook (Public page) /Facebook (Closed group)
prescottindivisible.org 
Info@prescottindivisible.org
Prescott Indivisible on YouTube 

Photo by Robert Alvarez on Unsplash


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Prescott Indivisible was founded in 2017, when Paul Hamilton and Nicole Romine put an ad in the local paper, requesting local progressives to show up at the library. Over 100 people lined up. In short order, we had formed a local chapter of the national Indivisible movement. Within six months we adopted a set of Guidelines that sets the framework in which we work, designed a logo and printed and sold t-shirts. Our mailing list quickly expanded from 100 to over 1,200. We usually have 100 or more attend our general monthly meetings.

Prescott Indivisible has a strong track record of activism. We adopted the team concept: Communication/Events; Voter Education and Elections; Education; Environment; Human Rights; Immigration and Peacekeepers to assist with safely issues. Initially we had a steering committee that consisted of volunteers. After our guidelines were adopted, the steering committee is made up of elected officers and members at large and the heads of the various teams, or their designees. A diverse group of community activists, social justice advocates and others that have volunteer ties to non-profits and religious organizations, the steering committee assists the teams when asked and sets the agendas.

Our teams and their members have worked diligently to make their voices heard. We have made thousands of calls, mailed hundreds of postcards to our legislators in Arizona and in congress. We have collaborated with like-minded organizations to advocate for issues of crucial importance to Arizona and the nation.

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