Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, likely getting a whiff of the negative reaction to a ballot proposal intended to merge staggered city elections, while extending his own term and those of the City Council by two years, has backed off the scheme.
The motivation was to give him a springboard to another office without the two year sit-it-out delay, which can keep politicians out of the limelight while waiting for the office they desire to pursue to become available.
Gordon calculatingly configured this as a cost saving measure for the taxpaying citizens. “The intent was never to make this about me; it was to make this about the city,” Gordon unconvincingly declared.
Term limits will drive Gordon out of office in January 2012. But under the proposal, Gordon and council members Maria Baier, Claude Mattox, Michael Nowakowski and Thelda Williams would have had their terms extended by two years, to January 2014, according to a report in the daily.
Former Mayor Skip Rimsza, whom Gordon served as chief-of-staff, called the proposal “perfectly silly.” When Gordon told him about the initiative, Rimsza said he urged the mayor to drop the idea — advice Gordon initially ignored.
“You have elections for a reason: to hold elected officials’ feet to the fire once every four years,” Rimsza said. “Every elected official tends to want to stay in office forever, but term limits were put in place to make sure you don’t develop cronyism amongst elected officials and the people they are doing business with.”
Gordon admitted he knew of the plan for several months and that the Phoenix Election Consolidation Committee had pursued it “with my concurrence.”
In plain English that means that Gordon’s “supporters” had his full agreement to ram this outrageous plan though. We can only assume the phones must have been ringing fast and furiously enough to get him to rethink the self-serving and grandiose strategy.