2007-11-15 / Letters to the Editor

Stick with council president tradition

As you are aware, I was the highest vote getter in the Town Council election and I thank the townspeople for their support of my candidacy.

Over the years, the highest vote getter of the winning party in council elections typically has been asked to be the council president. I believe there was one year that Tot Wright was the highest vote getter and indicated he did not wish to be council president and so it was voted to another councilperson. Although none of the elected council people have formally asked if I was interested, for the record, I am interested in being the next president of the Jamestown Town Council. There is apparently a recount of the ballots this Thursday and if at the end of that recount I am no longer the highest vote getter than I am obviously not interested in pursuing the position of president. Also, you should know that if I had not been the highest vote getter I would have made no attempt to be the president and I would have supported the highest vote getter.

There is a valid principle for my position and there is a valuable precedent for selecting the highest vote getter to serve as council president. Quite simply, it takes the negotiation for the position out of the decisionmaking process and because the president holds that position as a result of winning the highest number of public votes, he/she is most inclined to represent the public interest in the subsequent public business that comes before the council. The individual can reflect and represent the public interest and not be influenced by favors/obligations that he/she might have incurred as part of a negotiation with others in order to become president.

If the council abandons this precedent they open up future council presidencies to all manner of negotiation by any combination of three elected council people and the public interest is even further eroded.

I realize that my articulating this principle and precedent seems terribly self-serving, but I believe I have a responsibility to the public and to those who voted for me to actively pursue the position of Jamestown Town Council President.

Robert W. Sutton Jamestown Town


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