By Michael Schroeder
Sedona, AZ: You get what you vote for. This doesn’t happen by accident.
The voters keep putting people on the council who have never built anything, or who are ideologues and have never had the money or resources to try their experiments which most of the time don’t work.
You vote for incompetence, they hire incompetence (not all of course but many) and expect what, a different outcome?
Now we have a council that funds what appears to be a quasi-government — the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau with an operational budget of a million or so dollars, BEFORE they start doing stuff.
Nice gig if you can get it.
Any candidates out there that want a thankless job that pays nothing?
We need to PAY the council. You get what you pay for.
We need some talent and experience with resumes in leadership, finance and other accomplishments in SUCESSFULLY building or RUNNING a 70+ MILLION dollar business.
That’s what the last Sedona budget was I believe… an unbelievable amount for a population of 9,700 people.
And you need ACTIVE full time members. This IS a full time job if you do it right to give direction to staff and make big decisions that are NOT political or ideologically driven.
Talent costs money.
It has been stated by some council members that this is a “staff run city.” Oh great. Who is hiring the staff, management recruited by council?
Example: They just promoted Sedona’s assistant city manager to city manager when the previous city manager quit. Why was that appointment made? Was it just “convenience?” Or just laziness on the council’s part?
I’m not picking on the newly-appointed city manager, and she may the BEST qualified and most competent person in the country to run a $70,000,000 operation. But how does the council know?
Show me, a Sedona voting resident and taxpayer, the nationwide search that was done for a city manager. Does anyone on the council know how to do that?
The new city manager could have applied also of course. Being number two for a long time is not a qualification. But her talent could be. But what are you comparing to without a nationwide search? Did the city get the best available? Nobody knows.
Currently I sit on the board for a $4 billion public company. We’ve been looking for a CEO/President for two years. Our current CEO does a great job, but needs to retire. The interview process and hunt has been exasperating. It’s not easy.
Until you make the Sedona City Council positions attractive to talented and experienced people, you are going to get what you vote for.
A council member member should make a minimum $5,000 a month. Mayor, $7,000 a month.
You are not going to get qualified people to run for office otherwise, just ideologues who use tax dollars for their special projects.
That’s not to say some people want to “make a difference” and devote their time. Nice thought, but without experience and background in running something big that’s all it is, a nice thought.
If you want nothing to change in Sedona, then keep doing what you’re doing.
Editor’s Note: Sedona resident Mike Schroeder is an electrical engineering technician that graduated from technical school in 1968. In 1980 along with several dozen other people he was involved in the start of the satellite television industry. By 1998, when he merged his company with another company west of the Mississippi, he had 10 distribution warehouse sales locations east of the Mississippi from Wisconsin to Florida. His company was located in Indianapolis Indiana. He was a satellite TV programming distributor representing companies like HBO and CNN, and had over 400,000 retail repeat customers across the United States, Mexico and Canada. He was an RCA distributor and serviced over 5,000 dealers becoming one of the first DirecTV distributors in 1993. He currently sits on the board for EchoStar, owner of Hughes Communications (NASDAQ, SATS) since 2002. Sister company is Dish Network. He is the audit committee chairman and is a member of the compensation committee. He is an accomplished pilot and flies mostly charity flights for post 911 veterans and Environmental NGOs.
* Sedona.biz encourages community members, regardless of political persuasion or stance, to share their thoughts with readers through letters to the editor, relevant opinions and articles. The above article reflects only the opinion of the author and not the publication’s.
Mr. Schroeder makes some good points but I would ask the author what he would do if he was elected mayor with majority support on the city council to improve the lives of Sedona citizens. It’s easy to knock people for their failures but much more difficult to offer solutions.
I think that a better question to ask Schroeder is that now that he’s on the Sedona Airport Board of Directors his position gives more latitude to that board and what has he and, they, done to better our city? The answer is that he and they are pushing an high-end event venue that will bring lots of auto AND AIRCRAFT traffic not to mention, noise to the folks that live along the airport mesa.
My suggestion is that you come to an airport board meeting and fill out a request to speak card and address the board. We had one person who already did that on this topic, and even though it is only 3 minutes, there was an opportunity to have conversations after the meeting.
Also note that the board is not “pushing” anything. It is our fiduciary responsibility to maximize the property for the benefit of the airport as we are a 100% stand alone non taxpayer or county funded facility. We had an empty building that needed a tenant, and put out RFPs. The issues have been addressed that you mentioned. It is important to not listen to the rumor mill. We enjoy having input from the public on any project we do. The airport is a substantial financial asset to the city.
We look forward to seeing you.
1. Margaret, the first thing, which I have been saying for years is to totally de-fund the Chamber of Commerce. Give them a small amount to subsidize the visitor’s center, other than that we do not need promoting and we don’t need a shadow government with a $2 million + budget. They should exist on membership dues or CLOSE DOWN. An external audit has been called for for over a decade, but never enough votes to make it happen. Ask yourself why.
2. Find or instruct the city attorney to enforce zoning laws on Vacation rentals. Our last attorney refused.
3. Stop spending money on Climate change – the earth has been doing that for 4.2 Billion years. Buying electric vehicles as 4 million tourists come here in buses and cars is really stupid. Makes certain people “feel good” – with your tax dollars.
4. I personally fought Permanent Base Adjustment (PBA) instead of Home Rule. PBA actually over time would give the city more money. But council was either too ignorant to realize it or wanted to make sure PBA was not enacted becasue the VOTERS – (remember us) actually had a say in the city budget. And we had a City Manager who broke the law in promoting Home Rule.
There is a lot more Margaret. That just touches the surface.
Thank you for your clear and lucid perspective on what you would do. You have proven your abilities in business and it’s time they should be applied to saving our Sedona. Also, I am appreciative that Sedona.biz has given people who are not Liberals or Democrats a voice. You can bet the Red Rock Snooze would not give you the time of day because of your political stance. Keep it up. Don’t let those bullies derail you.
Sedona must pay for professional City Leaders to avoid the numerous failures that the city has experienced in the last five years.(handouts of millions $ per year to a COC, Gridlock traffic, lack of rapid snow removal, collapsing of a Dome at Barbara Park, low-cost housing, etc.)
Major changes are required to prevent the downfall of a very pretty City. Vote in a professional Council.
Great insights to helping fix our problems here!
It starts at the top, and how can we possibly expect the best, if we give little incentive to the best!
Thanks for taking this necessary first step and identifying the problem .
Ha, Mike pretty good for a bunch of amateurs
Overall, the City’s financial position remains strong. During the FY 2022 budget process, the General Fund’s surplus for FY 2021 was estimated to be $9.7 million. In actuality, it was $12.2 million. This provides the City with substantial opportunities to invest in projects, services, and initiatives that better the community.
2. Refinanced Bond Debt
In 2021, the City took advantage of low-interest rates and its strong credit rating to refinance $9 million of debt. This in turn saved the City $732,000. The City’s existing bond debt will be fully retired in less than 6 years.
3. City Receives Clean Audit Report
Every year, the City is required to have an independent, third-party conduct a financial audit. The City received a clean audit report for FY 2021. This demonstrates meeting our goal to maintain an administration set apart by good governance, financial compliance, and internal controls.