By Naomi Hatch –
Taylor Vice Mayor Jordy Fuentes tendered his resignation at the May 4 town council meeting. He has been accepted into law school and will be moving to the Valley.
“Many times I was not able to go to functions and Jordy stepped into that. He represented the Town of Taylor very well, he speaks intelligently and he speaks from the heart, and I consider it an honor to have served with Jordy and his Dad (former mayor Floyd Fuentes),” said Mayor Debbie Tuckfield, who noted that this came about quickly.
A motion passed unanimously, but with regret, to accept his resignation.
Mayor Tuckfield then opened the floor for nominations to fill the vacant council seat, expressing concern that a replacement be made immediately so that the new council member would have the opportunity to attend budget work sessions.
“This really surprised me and it really surprised me that we’re trying to move already to fill his position. It’s not a courtesy to those that have been (recently) elected. I think they need to be a part of that,” said Councilman Jay Whipple.
Councilman Jared Hatch said he could see Whipple’s point, but noted they would have to appoint someone and there were people in the audience interested in filling the position.
“I tend to agree with you, because it was very quick. My thinking was, we are looking at the budget process. If you wait those three weeks to do that, you eliminate that person being able to participate,” said the mayor, who acknowledged that waiting would give more people an opportunity to express interest.
Councilman Mark Reed agreed that there are things that need to be moving forward budget-wise.
Town Attorney Sterling Solomon said, “There is no requirement as far as time is concerned under the town code or state law. I think prudence would dictate that you do it as soon as convenient. The other side is, because there wasn’t an agreement, there may be a tie vote and a tie dies because it’s an unsuccessful motion.”
Mayor Tuckfield polled the audience, asking anyone interested in the position to step forward.
“When things started unfolding and I knew there was a possibility, I went on the search for individuals in the community that love Taylor, number one, but, two, we in Taylor are facing some tremendous challenges and it comes from budget issues and lacking the funds to do the things we need to do,” said Fuentes. He then recommended Alan Ramage, who he noted has qualifications relating to budget.
Erin Amos expressed interested in the vacant council seat, but stated, “I don’t think it’s fair to choose somebody tonight,” suggesting that people be notified and have an opportunity to send letters noting their background and interest.
Ramage, who serves as director of Snowflake High School’s Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) program, stated he would be interested in filling the vacant seat and told of his work regarding budget.
“There’s no reason for it. It may very well be we’ve got the best people qualified for that in this room. There’s no hurry. It’s difficult but they can handle it,” said Councilman-elect, Fay Hatch. “Some of you (council members) won’t be here after the next meeting. I don’t think it’s fair to make a decision like this that will affect the new council.”
“This is very interesting, reading between the lines,” said Councilman-elect Gary Solomon. “It’s a matter of priority to me. It would be my hope I would get a chance to talk to someone else. I would like a little courtesy in that respect.”
“I’d like to be counted with those that say go slow,” said Eddie Hancock. “Yes, there’s an urgency, we agree with you it’s important, the budget’s important. In your behalf and in consideration of the new council, I would be one that would say, please slow down, please let the word spread.” Hancock suggested calling a special meeting to make the appointment.
Cindy Schreiber suggested that because of the recent election, they look at the person with the next highest number of votes.
In the end, a motion passed unanimously to table this item until May 18, when they hold a special meeting.
Persons interested in filling the vacant council seat can take a letter of interest to Taylor Town hall by the close of business on Thursday, May 12, because town hall is closed on Fridays, or e-mail the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, May 13.
A motion to table the selection of a new vice mayor was also approved.