Mike Kelly on Scottsdale’s General Plan 2014 Task Force

Mike Kelly sent this email to the Scottsdale City Council this morning regarding tonight’s appointment of a task force to update Scottsdale’s General Plan.

At today’s City Council meeting (May 7, 2013), you will be nominating citizens to serve on a 2014 General Plan Task Force. They will be charged with drafting a potential replacement general plan for our currently operative Scottsdale 2001 General Plan. This potential 2014 replacement plan, as directed by Arizona law, will follow a process that includes obtaining Planning Commission recommendation, City Council adoption and voter-ratification.

It now appears that these citizen volunteers will assume their positions and may commence work without Scottsdale’s City Council as of yet having issued a strong public statement that the Task Force will be working to develop a “meaningful” general plan, one that Scottsdale’s governance structure — our elected officials, professional staff, and appointed citizen Board, Commission and Task Force members — will take seriously, respect, and implement.

Furthermore, the City Council also has not yet alerted these citizen volunteers to the very real possibility that their work, complex, time consuming, and as frustrating as it may become, even if adopted by the City Council and ratified by the voters, may not be as diligently implemented over the years by Scottsdale’s governance structure as some volunteers might expect. (See my April 11, 2013 email for a more in-depth discussion of this matter.)

Our City Council’s unwillingness to seriously engage citizens in a frank discussion regarding the degree of respect that our governance structure should show to Scottsdale’s operative 2001 General Plan, and to any legitimate successor plan, is discouraging to say the least.

Tonight, before appointing these citizen volunteers to this task force, as a matter of simple professional courtesy, each of you should inform them about how you perceive the general plan’s importance. These volunteers are entitled to know what you believe regarding the general plan’s significance to governance in Scottsdale. Moreover, these volunteers have a right to know the degree of loyalty and fidelity that they can expect each of you to extend to the plan when completed, if adopted and ratified.

Informing our citizen volunteers about these matters is the right thing to do. Commencing this endeavor without providing the citizen volunteers and this city a clear understanding of what each of you, as members of this community’s senior legislative policy making body, believes, regarding our voter-ratified general plan’s role in Scottsdale governance, would be wrong.

Michael Kelly

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