By Judy Reddington, Sedona Resident
(August 15, 2013)
Wednesday, August 14th, a hot day, in the middle of the afternoon, middle of the month and middle of the summer is an unlikely time to “pack the council chamber”.
The council chamber was over flowing with people of good will who have been contributors to community life in Sedona. Filling the seats for the 3+ hour meeting were leaders from many different viewpoints, not only experienced commissioners. There were many eloquent speakers and heartfelt comments, 90+ percent of which involved pleas for study, time and continuation of the current system if a new system is developed and evaluated.
In an embarrassing performance filled with disrespect for the constituents, and their commissions and filled with fantasy about the untapped masses of young and silent citizens out there waiting to be invited to volunteer, the council in a split decision decided to forge forward with an incomplete plan into an untried and uncertain program.
While this staff and some on this council aim at utopia, they find no use for the criticism or the input of it’s once valued fellowship of volunteers. In the process some have managed to insult the acquired expertise of this current group of community leadership, and questioned their connection to the community calling them politicos, squeaky wheels and their comments “noise” (much of that from the dais and in public).
The unfortunately named “citizen engagement program” by all accounts did not involve the commissioners or the citizens in it’s creation to any recognizable extent. This was acknowledged not only by comments from the audience but also the comments from the dais.
All of the councilors were present and each of them spoke, as well, reviewing the short history of the staff proposal and their personal assessment of the staff directed CEP. Mayor Adams, who passionately praised those who had contributed generously to community life through the current system and those who consistently “suited up” for the city’s team, ultimately was in the minority.
In the end the problems with this were many. It was a hasty decision based on questionable research. Communication of the entire project was poor both in the input and in the explanations and information put out to the public. The result of these actions was not benign and affected both individuals and community. Sloppy research, questionable conclusions, and a project that was too too fully delegated and not properly supervised. It’s up to the council to look after their people and their business better than this.
Personally, I’ve been so proud to stand with the people in this community who have made a difference. I think we did everything we could do, did right things and we did them the right way. Sadly we did not carry the vote on this issue.