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Thu, Nov. 21

Deb Althouse resigns from Cottonwood City Council

Deb Althouse. VVN file photo

Deb Althouse. VVN file photo

COTTONWOOD — Deb Althouse has informed Cottonwood city officials that she is resigning from the city council.

Althouse, who has served on the Council since 2016, said she plans to move out of Yavapai County, though she didn’t mention her destination or reason for moving.

In an open letter sent to local media this week, Althouse said she spoke with Mayor Tim Elinski, City Manager Ron Corbin and City Attorney Steve Horton a few weeks ago and informed them that sometime in late November or early December, she will move outside of the county.

“Although I still currently live in Cottonwood, I do not feel it ethical to continue to make decisions for the City, when I know I will moving in the upcoming months,” Althouse said. “While I am choosing to move away from Cottonwood, I want everyone to understand I have been deeply committed to this community for many years and Cottonwood will always hold a special place in my heart.”

The acceptance of Althouse’s resignation, along with discussion of how her replacement will be appointed, is a new-business item on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular Cottonwood Council meeting, set for 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, 826 N. Main St.

Corbin said he would like to see a replacement appointed before the holidays, as a full seven-member council is an important component of the annual budget process that begins each January.

He also said it would be ideal if a replacement were chosen in time for the Council’s Dec. 13 retreat — or, if no candidate is chosen by then, any candidates or finalists would attend the retreat, which is a public event.

The process for appointing a replacement, in Cottonwood Municipal Code, is weak on specific steps, other than the Council will establish a process. Corbin said any interviews of a candidate would take place in public, likely at a specially scheduled meeting, but the Council can deliberate by itself, in executive session, to discuss candidates.

Althouse’s position is one of five that end in 2020, so her replacement must win election next year in order to remain on the Council. All seven positions are at-large, as Cottonwood has no precincts or districts for choosing council members.

This will be the second council replacement this year for Cottonwood. Jackie Nairn was chosen in March to replace Kyla Allen, and Nairn’s term also ends in 2020.

Althouse and her husband first purchased a home in Cottonwood in 2008 while living in the Phoenix area, and permanently relocated to Cottonwood not long thereafter. It was a motorcycle rally that first lured the couple to the Verde Valley, and she remained a staunch supporter of motorcycle awareness and safety and of the annual Thunder Valley Rally held each fall.

“Every person on City Council, at one point, ran because something was very passionate to them and stirred them to want to make a difference,” Althouse wrote in her email this week. “For me, it was initially Thunder Valley Rally and my belief that it’s a great event for our community and revenue source, as it fills our hotels, which thus fills our restaurants and stores.”

Althouse said an important part of a successful Council is learning that no matter what a council member decides, at least a few constituents are going to disagree with choices.

“Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s OK,” she wrote. “It’s perfectly OK for people to have a difference of opinion and still remain friends.”

Althouse said she realized her management experience would benefit the city. There were some great improvements to the city during her time on Council, she said, including hiring Corbin as city manager.

Althouse earned the second-most votes in the August 2016 Council primary, behind former mayor Ruben Jauregui.

“I want to thank everyone that voted for me, believed in me and encouraged me along the way,” Althouse wrote.

Cottonwood residents interested in being considered by the Council as a replacement councilor should email any questions to City Clerk Marianne Jimenez at mjimenez@cottonwoodaz.gov.

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