Monday, January 23, 2012

Becky Moore resigns from City Council, makes several suggestions; filing deadline is Jan. 31

Becky Moore, who preceded Tom Bozarth as mayor of Midway, resigned today from the City Council seat she won in the November 2010 election. Meanwhile, one of her allies, Council Member Joy Arnold, has announced that she will not file for re-election this year. (Photo by Dick Yarmy)

Moore and Bozarth, who was elected mayor in 2006 and again in 2010, have had their difficulties, which are reflected in her resignation letter:

Mayor Bozarth and City Council Members,
I have decided to resign from Midway's City Council. This letter is to officially notify you of this decision. My approach to public service has always been to be inclusive and positive. I encourage and appreciate citizens who want to participate and volunteer in our Community. With this is in mind I make the following suggestions:
1.) Council members vote and should participate in all decisions that will make our Community the best it can be. All council members need all the information to do this. I challenge you to share all e-mails, phone calls and letters among all the Council. Simply put, what the Mayor Pro Tem knows, regarding Midway, all Council members should know.
2.) Vote to remove the city's primary, which would move the filing date to run for office, in an election year, from January to August. According to the Kentucky League of Cities, 90 percent of the fourth through fifth class cities have eliminated their primaries. (Second and third class cities are required to have a primary.) Our January deadline has always come and gone before most people ever think about running for Mayor or Council.
3.) Lighten up. The meetings are oppressive. We are all there because we should want to work together to help our community, we are not antagonists. Rearrange the room so we can see each other and be seen by visitors, reporters and speakers.
4.) Do not underestimate the desire of our citizens to volunteer. This can be a HUGE help to the City if the City appreciates and encourages it.
Becky Moore
The mayor pro tem, Sharon Turner, has been generally an ally of Bozarth. She said in an email that she had not withheld information from other council members, and "I have never had a problem with a lack of communication with anyone. . . . I can't answer a question that hasn't been asked - and frankly, Becky has not asked any question that I haven't answered. Nor do I believe that to be the case with our mayor or city staff."

State law calls for Turner and the other four remaining council members to appoint a replacement to fill the 11-plus months remaining in Moore's unexpired term. Bozarth, who at his request was interviewed by email, said he had no one in mind for a replacement.

In an interview with the Messenger's Cassidy Herrington, Moore said the primary communication problem is between Bozarth and the council. She said Bozarth has not replied to some of her emails.

Asked about that, Bozarth replied, "I have answered the emails and questions. I wish I could say the same about emails from the mayor." He also said, "I have tried to share all information and encouraged ALL council members to ask questions."

Council Member Joy Arnold told reporter Kristen Vinson in an email that the meeting agendas Bozarth prepares "give us very little information about what to expect. Though we are usually given names of people that will be making presentations, we're rarely informed of the subject they will address. . . . I do often feel that the mayor and others seem to think that as long as they know something, that is sufficient." Asked to reply to that, Bozarth did not.

Arnold, who was elected last year on an informal slate with Moore and Dan Roller, said she was sad to see Moore resign, adding, "She's gotten tired and feels she's not accomplishing anything, so she'd rather look at the rest that life has to offer."

Arnold said she will not run for re-election this year, to devote her energies to another cause, and has a letter in tonight's Woodford Sun urging others to run. Council Members Aaron Hamilton and Doris Leigh have been generally aligned with Turner and Bozarth, who as mayor can vote on council issues only to break ties.

The filing deadline for nonpartisan council seats in this year's elections is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the county clerk's office at the courthouse in Versailles. If more than 12 people file for the six seats, a primary would reduce the general-election ballot to 12. Last year, due to retirements and a withdrawal, only six candidates were on the November ballot.

Moore said that without a primary, there would be an August filing deadline, and "A lot more people might be interested in running." She said next Tuesday's filing deadline influenced the timing of her announcement. "I think people needed to know that I was not going to be on the ballot."

Bozarth, left, replied, "I don't think January compared to August will make a difference if you are interested in running for public office. Every candidate should do their do diligence and attend council meetings to learn the issues if they have a true interest in running. I know before I filed to run I attended council meetings."

Arnold said, "I have not found our meetings to be all that instructive to the public."

The council meeting tables were recently rearranged to put all council members in a row with Bozarth, City Attorney Phil Moloney and City Clerk Phyllis Hudson at a 90-degree angle facing the audience. (See photo in item below.) "The tables were rearranged at Mrs. Moore's request," Bozarth said in his email.

Moore's reference to volunteering reflects difficulties between Bozarth and Midway Renaissance, which have been documented in several Midway Messenger stories. Asked by email to describe his relationship with Moore, Bozarth left that question unanswered.

Efforts to reach other council members for comment were unsuccessful. Arnold said, "Tom has a very different style of communication from Becky. I was not paying much attention when Becky was mayor, but I do understand that their relationship in grounded in history."

UPDATE: In his weekly column in The Woodford Sun this evening Bozarth mentioned the resignation said, "I want to thank Becky for her public service, six years as a council member and eight years as mayor and the things that were accomplished. I wish Becky and John the best of luck in their future endeavors." Moore is married to Midway dentist John Moore.

1 comment:

david foxworthy said...

I commend Becky for her open heart, her honesty and her sprit.
I'm proud of who you are.