By Cliff Hamilton
Sedona AZ (March 21, 2014) – A depth of experience, facilitative leadership, a researched and reasoned approach to problems and a strong commitment to our community are essential to the people elected to guide our city. I believe I applied those qualities in the time I served on the Sedona City Council, as Sedona’s Vice Mayor and on a variety of boards, committees and community-focused projects in the twelve years we have lived here. I hope to continue to do so.
That is why, today, I am announcing I will be a candidate for the office Sedona Mayor in the election process that begins late next month. This is a natural step in serving Sedona and one that is consistent with my demonstrated leadership experience and reasoned approach to the opportunities and challenges we face.
Many supporters have asked me about running over the past year, and while my actual campaign cannot begin until the city provides necessary documents next month, I wanted to make this decision well in advance to end the suspense for Katie and me as well as for the community. I know full well this decision involves a major commitment of time and energy to the community. It’s one I’m prepared to make. I know from my service on the Council and as Vice Mayor just what is involved and firmly believing that I can make a difference and help lead Sedona in a positive direction.
This election will be a different experience for both candidates and voters alike.
In previous city elections, the process has begun in November and ended with a Primary election in March or a General Election in May; a time when most voters are at home. Due to changes made by the 2012 Arizona Legislature, the election process will now begin in late April for an August 26th Primary Election. That means campaigns will run in the heat of the summer and during a time when many voters may be gone on vacations or away to cooler climates for extended periods. Traditional candidate forums and other events will likely have to be altered to fit the new circumstances since even candidates may be away for previously-planned summer commitments as well.
Taking office will involve different circumstances as well. Previously, new Council members took office in late May or early June in time to put their final stamp of approval on the annual city budget they would administer. Under the new system, election winners will take office in early January and arrive in the middle of the budget year with little to say about funding for their priorities until the next year. New office-holders will, however, be able to participate in the full development of the next annual budget that starts July 1st which is something outgoing Council members formerly did under the old election process.
My previous experience on the City Council and the resulting understanding of these dynamics will allow me to be immediately effective in the Mayor’s role. That’s a real advantage. Most Council members acknowledge that it takes a year or more to grasp all the nuances of the office. With the Mayor’s term being only two years, that’s half or more of the service time just to get up to speed.