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Sat, Aug. 17

Editorial: Honoring voters' trust apparently not a priority

Prescott City Council, we have a problem.

In the past nine months, three sitting council members have resigned before the end of their respective elected terms. One cited personal reasons, one cited an inability to work with fellow members, and the most recent cited an eye on higher public office.

Councilman John Hanna is the latest, abruptly announcing his resignation during Tuesday's meeting, effective the end of this month. Hanna has already formed an exploratory committee to run for a seat on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, and will leave his post - 21 months before his term on the Prescott city council is due to expire.

Folks, we need candidates who will take their pledges to serve their constituents as seriously as voters take their votes. In Hanna's case, ironically, he was the top vote-getter in the 2009 election. Yet in his Tuesday announcement in council chambers, Hanna added that, through his exploratory committee, he had received "overwhelming" feedback from the public to run for the Board of Supervisors.

By our math, the City of Prescott's voters gave him overwhelming feedback about serving on their city council, and in a time of great need. In the post-election words of Mayor Marlin Kuykendall back in November 2009, the city was facing "enormous" challenges. Outgoing councilman Bob Bell at that same swearing-in session advised the new council members to "give this job 110 percent, because that is what the citizens will expect."

Instead, Prescott voters have become accustomed to council members who, for one reason or another, leave their elected posts early.

We realize fate has a way of changing plans. But three resignations in nine months? Including the last election's top vote-getter, who would rather run for another office than finish the term to which voters believed they were electing him? "What you see is what you get with me," Hanna said on a victorious Election Night back in 2009.

If nothing else, voter turnout may continue to go south as a result of all this. Turnout in this past August's city election was lower than the previous election - and sunk below 50 percent. Voters recognize a broken deal when they see it, particularly a pattern.

We all wish sitting council members who leave mid-term best wishes personally. But voters wish for the best for their city when they cast their ballots.

Lately, what they see is what they get. That's for sure.

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