Regarding the Christopher - Kohl's Fire District Recall:
I did not initiate the recall, nor authorize or suggest it. It has nothing to do with my pay or budget proposals. I have taken the position of protecting the constitutional rights of all parties. I will continue to assure that it is done properly with as little disruption of the department as possible.
Every citizen has the right to exercise their political initiative. Like the board, I am sworn to support the Constitution of the United States.
The board's response to a perceived personal attack is unfortunate. It is not personal -- it is politics.
I feel recalls are bad for everyone. They cause bad feelings and divisions. But they force political accountability. If politicians haven't done anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about. If they have, they must accept the consequences of being removed from office or resign.
Don't get upset because citizens are taking an interest.
The three board members represent one-third of our residents. They are not elected because of their flawless judgment. They shouldn't make decisions "for the voter" -- they represent the voters' opinions and decisions. This takes a lot of work. Most residents are unaware of the issues and reluctant to attend meetings or offer opinions. If things don't go grossly wrong, they become complacent and silent.
If politicians fail to inform people and seek their opinion, we have an autocratic government.
It is unfortunate that two board members stated they think I am behind the recall and regretful that they did not express their concerns to me instead of printing them. Now I must fear retaliation.
My desire continues to be to provide the highest level of service possible and to do so economically.
We are at horrific risk 23 miles from the hospital. We endure lightning strikes, human-caused fires, and an overgrown forest stricken with drought and bark beetles. What an enormous job, and we are years behind where we need to be. It is only by the grace of God that fire has spared us this long.
Political distractions are common in the fire service. Most fire districts in Arizona have undergone or are now undergoing political unrest. Shouldn't we stop and consider, "What is really important? Is what I am doing truly in the best interest of everyone concerned?" If not, maybe it's time to step out of the way and let someone else give it a try.
We need to be busy reducing risks and providing quality service and not be offended if someone questions the way we are doing it.
Kent Courtney, Fire Chief, Paramedic/Firefighter