TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Sat, Aug. 24

Commentary: Enough with tattle tales; we need consolidation election date

What began as a request to delay the school district consolidation election for another year has ended up in a war of words over an alleged violation of Arizona’s Open Meeting Law by the Mingus Union School Board.

We’re sorry, but the series of legal salvos being fired back and forth between Mingus and pre-consolidation advocates comes across more as a grade-school skirmish than an effort to pin down an election date.

It also raises doubts about Yavapai County Superior Court Judge David Mackey’s assessment that consolidation is an exercise in “legitimate differences among good people.”

Lately, it’s come across more as an onslaught of tattletales by a bunch of spoiled brats.

As for the alleged Open Meeting Law violations by Mingus, if that really is the problem then someone needs to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

Yes, Mingus could have done much better than address the issues integral to the current legal debate than to simply instruct its attorney to proceed as discussed behind closed doors. That hardly served the public interest. It represented a step backward for Mingus following the significant transparency gains made at the high school by former Superintendent Genie Gee.

The school board also showed questionable judgment in allowing former board member Jim Ledbetter to participate in that executive session. Whether it is something that passes legal muster or not, board members should have realized it would raise red flags with certain members of the community. It would ultimately put the board’s credibility at risk in the eyes of some people.

But all of the above is a bunch of legal gobbledygook. We’ve totally lost focus from the issue: Is it OK for this election to be delayed for another year?

We need an answer to that question.

The longer it is delayed, the uglier this mess will get. The grade-school tattletales will only get worse.

It’s obvious that both Mingus and pre-consolidation advocates have forgotten Judge Mackey’s admonition from 2018 that “This is a good opportunity and a neighborly opportunity to recognize there are legitimate differences among good people in this community that need to ultimately be resolved by the people in this community.”

We’re hardly being neighborly here.

We’re hardly seeing the opposing sides in this debate acknowledge that these are “legitimate differences among good people.”

We need an answer to the question on when this election will take place.

And then hope all involved can move forward in a much hoped for neighborly manner.

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