Column: Tired of partisan politics? Try Good Governance

Running for a non-partisan public office on any level, from city or town council to any of the many district boards can be a rewarding civic experience. Town or city, college, fire, hospital, school districts - all have regular elections and are always seeking informed voters to serve in the governing bodies closest to the individual voter. All have taxing authority under state law and affect most immediately residents' daily lives.

Local election results are the easiest to influence by the individual registered voter and it is everyone's civic duty to become involved, learn the system and work to make a difference.

The Prescott Good Governance Committee has been organized for many years carrying out the theme EDUCATION/REGISTRATION/PARTICIPATION. In the current Prescott city election cycle a civic academy informed voters about the charter, executive responsibilities of council, administrative duties of appointed department heads and staff, budget and the general plan draft.

A workshop was sponsored with a professional elections trainer Beth Meyer, Executive Director of Leading for Change, giving leadership training for civic involvement. Registration for voting in the city elections are continuing by the PGGC ACTION 15 Committee in many venues.

We offer a session with any person interested in any non-partisan pubic office on the preparation and action involved in becoming a candidate with Meyer as instructor.

The Prescott Good Governance Committee offers a focus group format on the General Plan and The Prescott We Want for any group which requests a 15 minute presentation to give a review of Prescott's planning activities. The vote for the 2014 General Plan, again produced by a citizens committee, will be on the August city ballot and has been adopted as Prescott Good Governance Committee's platform for 2015.

Contact PGGC Chairman Cecelia Jernegan - cjernegan@j hotmail.com, 928-458-4729.

In collaboration with Lattie Coor, retired president of Arizona State University, founder and CEO of The Center for the Future of Arizona (2002), Prescott Good Governance Committee has been working on The Prescott We Want. The Center will present an informative program in Prescott in May to further civil discussion leading to civic action, by outlining the progress Arizona voters have made over the past several years in becoming involved in all levels of governance.

The Prescott We Want and Prescott General Plans (required of all jurisdictions in the country that use federal funds) have very similar desired outcomes as evidenced in Prescott planning documents being reviewed by good governance committee members:

• act as good stewards of the environment-sustain the area's natural assets

• manage water wisely taking productive steps toward safe yield

• maintain and promote the region's economic vitality

• maintain excellence in all education levels to prepare workforce for the 21st century

• protect the character and integrity of Prescott

• protect historic downtown Prescott as an economic engine and community character

• manage housing needs equitably for all residents

• follow complete streets directives for all transit needs for all residents and visitors

• maintain an equitable tax and fee structure to support public services

• provide open, transparent, inclusionary public information and communication

• encourage and produce strong citizen involvement in all civic matters`

Prescott's General Plan '14 reflects The Prescott We Want as evidenced in the past citizen generated plans of 1990, 1997 and 2003. Strategic planning to follow the adoption by the voters of the current plan has been authorized by the council and he process to be followed will engage the public further as the process is initiated and carried out in the coming months.

The Prescott Good Governance Committee meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room at Yavapai Title Company, 1235 E. Gurley St.

Informative presentations are encouraged by any individuals or groups who wish to share information on specific topics covered by the Prescott general plan, and who desire to become informed on the non-partisan opportunities for service available in this region.

A committee of Prescott Good Governance is working on the formation of a non-profit 501(c)(3) Arizona corporation titled THE VOTER ENGAGEMENT COALITION OF THE CENTRAL ARIZONA HIGHLANDS. This broad citizen empowering non-partisan, non-profit will offer the opportunity for everyone in the region to learn how to become involved as an informed voter in all jurisdictions, and to engage local interest in working in a setting to promote education, registration and participation for the numerous non-partisan bodies..fire districts, city, towns, college and hospital district boards, and school district boards throughout the region.

Elisabeth Ruffner is past chairman of the Prescott Good Governance Committee.