When the final slate of candidates for mayor and town council was released recently, Councilor Dick Reese was conspicuous by his absence.
Reese, who debated up until nearly the deadline whether to run, finally opted to step down. Health issues were part of his reasoning, but there was more to his decision, he told the Roundup.
"In the final analysis, I considered an adage I respect a lot: ‘Pursue your passion and you'll never work another day in your life,'" he said. "The degree of passion citizens are entitled to expect is not there."
Most recently, Reese had become the lone voice on the council opposing the decision to take water from Star Valley to fuel Payson's growth. In fact, Reese had spoken out frequently about what he considered "a divisive issue that should never have gotten to this point -- namely the town's participation in a transaction that poses a potential threat to our Diamond Star neighbors."
Reese noted in his comments to the Roundup that elected officials must be responsive to the people they serve.
"Government derives its power from the consent of the governed," he said. "Elected officials and department heads must never neglect the responsibility to respect the governed, their customers whom they serve."
He cited the following achievements during his single term in office:
- Introducing/promoting the Town's being self-insured, resulting in savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
- Encouraging use of alternative open-book methods of contracting for professional services and construction contracts, yielding potential real savings compared to how business had been routinely done.
- Improving internal and external communications and sincere efforts to treat citizens as customers.