CLARKDALE - - The Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee voted unanimously Nov. 18 to continue under the leadership of Paul Chevalier as Chair and Bill Regner as Vice Chair.
The committee was formed one year ago by the Prescott-based Yavapai College District Governing Board in order to obtain feedback from Verde Valley communities.
In an unexpected turn of events, what began with Chevalier requesting that the committee be disband ended in his re-election for another term of office.
Chevalier took issue with the DGB tasking the VVBAC with presenting a pre-written list of questions to their respective communities for feedback, with the results being submitted to a college board-initiated focus group for consideration.
"As I understand this motion, we no longer have authority to make recommendations to the board. Steve Irwin (DGB member) says maybe we ought to be an independent committee. Maybe he is right," said Chevalier.
"I am asking that we disband the board," Chevalier said.
DGB member Al Filardo countered Chevalier's request.
"You can resign, but you can't disband. It's the board's committee. They will just get new members," said Filardo.
After a discussion among advisory committee members, Chevalier turned the microphone over to each individual in order to hear their thoughts.
Albert Filardo said "there was no motion at the District Governing Board to change the vision or mission of this committee. You're doing a great job, just keep going."
"When the college asks for you to do this, don't be offended. Why would you not want to answer these questions?" he asked.
Randy Garrison, committee member representing Cottonwood, said, "I guess I'm going to have to side with Al on this. I'm OK with these questions. I say go forward as planned."
Newest member Steve King from Camp Verde said, "I think it's opened a lot of doors and opened a lot of conversations. My mom always said, 'It's easier to make changes from the inside than from the outside.'"
Member Leona Wathagoma from the Yavapai-Apache Nation was also philosophical, stating "we've got to look at it as a little fertilizer to help us grow. I am here with you."
Also voicing their wishes to continue were Bill Regner, vice chair from Clarkdale, saying "what we did was survive. They've taken our recommendations and put it in a spreadsheet format so now discussions can happen" and Janet Aniol, member from Beaver Creek, saying "I think we are making some inroads and some progress and at least bringing this to the college's attention."
After discussing whether the election should take place at this meeting as listed in the agenda or at the December meeting as listed in the operations guide, a motion was introduced by Garrison to "stay with current leadership," which was seconded by Aniol.
"As an advisory committee, we do everything as a team," said Chevalier.
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