“Staggered” or “Staggering” four year terms?

By Peter Koteas | February 11, 2009

Proposition #403, which is the handiwork of six members of the current town council, is strongly supported by a group of citizens that chose to remain “anonymous.” These “anonymous” citizens claim to know what is best for OUR TOWN and who is best suited to determine its destiny. If they are so concerned, why don’t they have the courage to speak out instead of remaining in the shadows? If they are so convinced this is the right thing to do, why are they unwilling to let you see their faces? You decide.

To even suggest that no one other than their chosen candidates is qualified to serve in a town with many, many successful people of diverse experience and background is beyond belief. Do these handpicked candidates offer any independent thought, new ideas, and unique solutions? Of course they don’t, as proven by their voting record. Ask yourself, “How can six independent thinking individuals vote exactly the same 110 consecutive times?” For this Council’s entire term, it’s been the mayor and the five “ayes.”

Before making your final decision on this question, please ask yourself, “Why would anyone commit to volunteer to do anything for four years?” I cannot speak for you but in my opinion I wonder how a volunteer position of “service” evolved into one of “control” with PAC influence, handpicked candidates, and an agenda that is never clearly identified. Add to that decisions that are pre-determined in the dark of night and viola, we have our own version of Roadhouse the movie.

Isn’t it bad enough that these elected “volunteers” shut out the voice of the citizens by sleight of hand? This council spends the town’s life blood (income), it makes determinations with respect to the welfare of the community and it makes appointments for boards and commissions and most of it is done prior to YOU being informed. Oh, they hold “open meetings” to comply with Arizona Statue, you know, those 5 p.m. affairs that you have difficulty attending because YOU WORK!

Volunteerism is the backbone of any small community, yet six members of the current town council voted to close the window of service opportunity just enough to discourage new opinions, new ideas and new energy. Have we “progressed” to the point where one has to be retired or independently wealthy to serve? I sincerely hope not. As the Carefree demographic continues to evolve and become younger, it seems logical that we should be encouraging greater involvement in town government, as well as exploring ways to provide additional opportunities to be of “service to others.” We should not be designing an environment that results in more restricted access.

The six current council members that voted to extend the term to four years argue that continuity and experience is important and necessary to properly make future decisions pertaining to the town. They then imply that the projects and studies they are working on require that “they do it.” You will often hear them say, “In business, corporations employ continuity of its board of directors as a management methodology.” Speaking from thirty years of personal experience dealing with very large corporations, continuity, more likely than not, often leads to a stagnant and “not invented here” mentality that stifles growth, innovation and progress. All too often, you will find that the same set of eyes see things one way – THEIR WAY! The board of directors simply “rubber stamping” decisions made by the CEO. Sound familiar?

Regarding the added claim that too much time and money is spent by council candidates and incumbent members during what this group term as “frequent election cycles” is absolute nonsense! They claim the incumbents could better use this time to “do the town’s business.” They can’t be serious! Doing the town’s work? And the professional full time staff does exactly what? In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention for the past 200 plus years, the largest single elected legislative body in the U.S.A., The U.S. House of Representatives, must reapply every two years to those they represent for their right to serve. It is important that we remember that two year terms serve a very valuable purpose; it is called accountability! Six of the seven current town council members, by their vote in favor of staggered four year terms, apparently believe no other citizen of Carefree possesses the qualifications or ability to conduct the business of the Town. This collective decision follows precisely the path these same council members have followed since their swearing in. It is important that you remember this fact; as of this date, without a single exception, every vote they have cast has been the same on every issue! I, for one, find it amazing that six independent thinking individuals can vote exactly the same on EVERY ISSUE brought before them without as much as offering an alternative.

Ask yourself, “Are their actions more along the lines of “service” or “control?” You decide and vote accordingly.

Peter Koteas
Candidate for Carefree Town Council