I was appalled and disappointed to see the video of last Tuesday’s city council meeting. The discussion centered around the city’s memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.) with a company called High Desert Energy for facilitation of helium and hydrocarbon exploration on the city’s recently acquired Red Gap Ranch east of Flagstaff.
Remember, taxpayers paid for that property in hopes of having another clean water supply for our community. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that clean water and hydrocarbon fracking are not compatible. And yet our city manager, on her own, signed this M.O.U. without disclosure to the city council and, worse yet, to the public. What was she thinking?
The city council needs to exert much more rigorous oversight over our city manager. She needs to read our city charter and understand the difference between the city council’s prerogative (policy making), and city staff’s role in carrying out policy. The line is being blurred by the current manager, and she needs to be brought back into her appropriate role.
The city government can be effective only when it is open, transparent, and has the public’s trust and confidence. The way the current city manager is operating lacks transparency and is corrosive to public confidence. We already have too much autocratic behavior on the national level. We certainly don’t need to suffer an autocrat on the local level.
JAMES E. BABBITT
AZ Daily Sun, February 18, 2019