Typography

Imagine the only voice from Congress that Americans heard from was the Speaker of the House. Members of the House of Representatives would not speak to their constituents and every question proffered to them, whether in their local offices, at public events, or before or after major votes was answered with, “I am unable to speak on the matter. Please direct your question to the Speaker of the House, the only person who can speak on behalf of Congress.”

Insanity, right? Undemocratic? Illogical for an elected body?


Unfortunately, that is how the Yavapai College Governing Board wants to run itself and is indirectly reprimanding Governing Board members who speak to the public and the press
Having a “united” voice only makes sense if issues were unanimously decided, but any board that is permanently unanimous is merely rubber-stamping policy and its actions and decisions are highly suspect.

While we trust that Governing Board Chairman Ray Sigafoos will honestly do his due diligence in speaking on behalf of the board as a whole, his official statements would simply parrot what could be gleaned from press releases or meeting minutes.

For instance, would Sigafoos tell voters and taxpayers why members of the board may have dissented in a 4-1 or 3-2 vote on a subject?

Doubtful. Thus, voters need to hear from those who dissent, and also from those who vote in favor. Elected officials in a representative democracy vote different ways for different reasons and voters need to know why.

Voters aren’t dumb. We know when a single board member speaks he or she isn’t representing the board as a whole, he or she is speaking as a single elected official.

When Sigafoos speaks on behalf of the board, he is not representing the Verde Valley. He was not elected to serve residents of the Verde Valley; he was elected to serve the constituents of his district and “happens” to be the designated board spokesman. But the Governing Board’s policy governance method is predicated on failed theory known as the Carver model and was designed for nonprofits and businesses — it simply does not work for public bodies.

Besides, part of the public’s problem with Yavapai College in the last few years is that the board doesn’t serve our residents in the same way it does residents in Prescott and Prescott Valley, so Sigafoos’ statements obviously don’t work because Verde Valley voters still feel short-changed.

Thus, we need to know the two members who do represent the Verde Valley — Deb McCasland and Connie Harris — are speaking for our residents, plus the whys and hows behind decisions on matters before the board.

Additionally, Yavapai College President Penny Wills has been nearly impossible to get statements from. She can take weeks to reply to simple questions, if she even bothers to call us back. Many of her statements to both local elected officials and this newspaper have often been less than truthful.

If Wills refuses to do her job and serve all the taxpayers of the county fairly — which evidence clearly proves is the case — then we need to make sure her bosses who are accountable to us — McCasland and Harris — are holding her accountable.

Dear board members Deb McCasland and Connie Harris: Defy this undemocratic and illogical Governing Board bylaw. Speak to voters, often, quickly and thoroughly.

After all, the other members of the board can’t kick you off because you speak to the public — you’re an elected official sent to represent the voters and taxpayers of your districts and only we can remove you if we choose not to re-elect you again.

Fight for us and speak to us. You have First Amendment right to speak your mind and no insignificant bylaw can deprive you of that right nor your duty to serve us.

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