On May 30, at a special council meeting for funding a redundant internet project, Mayor Tom Morrissey decreed no public comments would be allowed. The discussion regarded putting a “placeholder” in next year’s budget for $100,000. Kenny Evans presented that MHA would finance the in-town portion of an internet line and they hoped that Payson, Gila County and Arizona would finance the Phoenix to Payson portion. This is not a deal that Payson would be making with Evans or MHA. No allocation, expenditure, financial commitment or promise.
When they voted, Morrissey, Vice Mayor Janell Sterner, and Councilors Jim Ferris and Suzy Tubbs-Avakian voted no. Voting yes were Councilors Chris Higgins, Steve Smith and Barbara Underwood.
Morrissey campaigned on a platform of “I will bring redundant internet to Payson.” Ferris says internet redundancy is crucial to the future of Payson. And Sterner wonders what it will do for her (“If I can’t have high-speed internet, the businesses shouldn’t). Tubbs-Avakian didn’t campaign so we’ve no idea what her issues are.
Internet redundancy is critical for business, emergency and medical services, education and to the future of Payson.
The Roundup wrote that the council members voted no because they wanted more information. This was not a vote for funding allocation; but a vote to put a “placeholder” in the budget.
During the campaign, Morrissey (and Ferris) said “Let the people decide,” and “I work for you.” After getting elected, Morrissey promptly forgot everything he said. I pray that in the next election people will remember those empty promises.
Approval of a splash pad is irresponsible and imprudent. I am not opposed to a splash pad in the future, but a splash pad will serve a small group of citizens, bring little revenue and be a drain on resources and funding. Regular maintenance and supervision will be required as well as remodeled bathrooms. Vandalism will be huge along with liability. Instead, $300,000 would help make Taylor Pool more usable for all citizens.
Morrissey’s wife, Kris, is involved with the Splash Pad Committee. Why didn’t he cite a conflict of interest and recuse himself from the discussion and vote?
As anybody who has worked with the government knows, mandatory ethics classes stress, “every effort must be taken to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.” In my opinion, there is a lot more than the appearance of impropriety in this situation.
Remember to make your voices heard at the council meeting on June 13 at 3 p.m.
Kim Chittick, Payson