Q&A with Camp Verde mayoral candidate Dee Jenkins
Name: Dee Jenkins
Years in Arizona: 40
Government Elective & Advisory Experience: Elected to Camp Verde Town Council in 2016 for a four-year term. Appointed November 2018 Camp Verde Vice-Mayor. Member of NACOG Yavapai County Workforce Development Board 2018-2020.
Verde Independent: Why do you want to be Camp Verde's mayor?
Dee Jenkins: As I scale back my professional career, I feel a strong duty and a responsibility to utilize my extensive background in finance, business knowledge, computer skills, leadership and management to the betterment of Camp Verde. On a personal level, I love living here and appreciate all the natural resources and the diversity of our town, the friendly people and western character that bring us together. I want to be mayor because I am uniquely qualified and because I will always act in the best interest of my employers – the citizens of Camp Verde.
VI: If you were elected mayor, what do you believe would be your greatest responsibility to the citizens of Camp Verde?
Jenkins: My greatest responsibility to Camp Verde citizens as mayor is to lead with honesty and integrity, to be transparent in all transactions and dealings and to be financially responsible. As mayor I will also maintain and promote the character of Camp Verde, work passionately to preserve and protect our natural resources and at all times encourage open communication.
VI: Where in Camp Verde to you live? Was there a community issue that caused you to seek this office?
Jenkins: Where my home is located is not important. My community is the whole of Camp Verde and I serve and will serve the entire community. There is no specific issue that caused me to seek this office, other than my continued desire to ensure that the town is operated according to proper policy and procedure and all decisions made with the best interest of the town and the people who live here.
VI: What do you view as the most important issues facing Camp Verde and how would you deal with those concerns?
Jenkins: Certainly the economic and personal impact of COVID-19 and working together to provide support to those affected is an important issue. As I speak with citizens, there is a recurring theme in our conversations regarding economic development that provides job opportunities, shopping options and tax revenue to pay for the services and operations that citizens expect.
As mayor, with council, I will work with the Economic Development Department and the town manager to give direction and set goals that can be measured and reported and most importantly provide accountability that meet or exceed citizen's expectations.
VI: Are you pleased with how Camp Verde's government has handled the COVID-19 restrictions/closures? Would you have done anything differently?
Jenkins: I feel that Camp Verde has done a good job of handling a difficult situation. They have continued to provide services and conduct business following state guidelines. They instituted applicable measures to protect the safety of town staff and the public they serve. They made certain council meetings continued and implemented Zoom which provided interested citizens a way to attend council meetings via the internet.
VI: Should the town continue to offer Zoom attendance of its council meetings after the pandemic has eased?
Jenkins: Absolutely, Zoom is a very good option for citizens to virtually attend a meeting live. Once the pandemic passes, Zoom should continue as an alternative to attending meetings in person. In fact many people prefer electronic communication and I would hope this tool would promote greater public participation.
VI: Town Manager Russ Martin has said that the public's attendance at the Zoom meetings has been sparse. What do you think could be done to encourage better public participation? Or do you believe that the public would rather be in council chambers for council meetings?
Jenkins: Zoom is an alternative to attending public meetings in person. I believe that as people become more comfortable with the application they will use it more. The town should offer a basic user’s guide on their website and at the library to familiarize people with the program. That being said, there are people who enjoy council meetings and prefer to interact with town council face-to-face. Zoom allows for the best of both worlds – electronic viewing and active in-person participation if one desires.
VI: What is your position on having the town purchase of the Camp Verde Water Company? Should Camp Verde also purchase the Verde Lakes Water Company? Please explain your position.
Jenkins: COVID-19 has impacted the economy of Camp Verde. It is critical that the Town exercise a conservative approach to financial endeavors at this time. Large expenditures such as the purchase of a water company can only be considered after a professional state of the business report has been provided to council, return on analysis has been performed and financial impact understood.
VI: What does transparency in government mean to you? Please explain the similarities and differences in how town staff should be transparent compared to how the town’s elected and appointed officials should be transparent.
Jenkins: Transparency in government is making all public records available to the public except those protected by law, and conducting all business in an open forum. To me, there isn’t a great deal of difference in how town staff and council should be transparent. The state statues are clear that these laws are in the place to protect the public interest. They are in effect for all areas of the government. I believe that the more open government is with the public, the better they understand where their money is going and how they can actively participate in the process.
VI: Do you agree with how the Camp Verde Marshal's Office handled the Joe Butner/Bruce George incident? If not, then how should they have handled the situation?
Jenkins: Due to an open complaint, I cannot respond to this question.
VI: With a plan to inspire and facilitate transparency, Marshal Corey Rowley created a citizens committee that meets twice each month. Do you feel the committee has effectively become a liaison between the general public and local law enforcement? Should other town departments create similar committees with which to liaise?
Jenkins: I had the opportunity to attend one of the Marshal's citizen's committee meetings. I found the meeting to be informative and was pleased to see members of the public and other council members in attendance. These meetings provide presentations on issues of concern in the community and allow the officers and public the opportunity to meet and share their concerns. The committee’s input was instrumental in recent changes to the CVMO monthly report that is distributed to council. Decisions on whether other departments would benefit from this type of committee should be decided by the manager and department directors.
VI: Please explain how you see the council/manager form of government. How much latitude should council give the manager to lead the town?
Jenkins: Under the council-manager form of government, the council is responsible for making policy decisions such as budgets, goals, contract approvals, etc. All governmental authority resides with the council as a body of elected officials. The manager is responsible for making policy recommendations, carrying out council decisions and managing daily operations. Continuing to follow these guidelines provides the necessary checks and balances, and ensures transparency and accountability.
VI: How important do you think it is for council to work together and not work rogue, or independent of the process. Or, does the public rely on council members to work rogue if necessary? Please explain.
Jenkins: Elected officials are answerable to the voters. Council members will not always agree, but should work together in a respectful manner and take actions that are in the best interest of Camp Verde. Council members have an obligation to review material and obtain additional information and documents within town guidelines that will enable the council member to make an informed decision in the best interest of the town.
Click Below to: