Cottonwood Councilwoman Kyla Allen was appointed vice mayor of Cottonwood during a regular meeting in Council Chambers on Tuesday, Jan. 16.Allen was appointed after a motion brought up by Vice Mayor Ruben Jauregui to appoint Councilwoman Tosca Henry failed. Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski and Jauregui were the only two dissenting votes in the motion to appoint Allen.After Allen’s appointment, Elinski explained his no vote.
“The important thing for me is that in the untimely demise of the mayor, the vice mayor will be able to fill that seat … [Allen’s seat was] an appointed position, and the public didn’t have an opportunity to vet [Allen] as a council member,” Elinski said.
In response, Allen asked the mayor to “step back” and give her a chance.
“I think that you’ll find that I’m a little different than most people,” Allen said. “You’ll find out as a vice mayor I will probably be one of the biggest cheerleaders you could have. Watch what I can do.”
Councilwoman Linda Norman, who voted in favor of Allen’s appointment, said the reason she voted the way she did was because of availability.
“Anyone on this desk could fill the spot when [Elinski] is not there, and it has nothing to do with [Henry’s] or [Allen’s] personality. It’s strictly about availability.”
Other council members shared similar sentiments.
Before the vote, Councilwoman Deb Althouse urged the importance of a vice mayor being available to fill in for the mayor.
“I personally think it’s a responsibility where the person needs to be available during the day or at least have a flexible schedule where they can come and go,” Althouse said. “It’s important that we are out there representing Cottonwood.”
Althouse added that there is a big difference in the community when a mayor or vice mayor is present during city ceremonies versus a council member.
“I know we are all one of seven, but a lot of the community feel that it is a different position,” she said. “My concern is that there has been a lot of events where the mayor and vice mayor have not been able to attend because they were during the day or in the middle of the afternoon.”
Althouse said the Verde Valley Military Service Park is one example of an event where the mayor or vice mayor have not be present during the unveilings.
“The veterans feel they are not supported by Cottonwood City Council,” she said.
Henry, who is an attorney, added to the issue of availability saying that she does not recall a time where she was not available to serve council.
During the meeting, council also appointed several representatives to various organizations and committees related to intergovernmental issues:
- Northern Arizona Council of Governments: Elinski, the alternate is Allen.
- Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users’ Association: Councilwoman Karen Pfeifer, the alternate is Elinski.
- Verde Valley Transportation Planning Organization: Councilwoman Linda Norman, the alternate is Althouse.
- Cottonwood Personnel Board׃ Henry, the alternate is Althouse.
- Verde Valley Homeless Coalition: Elinski, the alternate is Allen.
- Area Agency on Aging, Region III: Allen, the alternate is Althouse.
- Alternative Pension Board: Elinski, the alternate is Allen.
Kelcie Grega can be reached at 634-8551, or email email@example.com