Morenci voters must elect a new mayor next week, choosing between two candidates with public service experience. One, Keith Pennington, has a more visible history with his past service as mayor. The other, Jeff Bell, may not be as well known through his role as a city council member.
We don’t doubt that both men have the city’s best interests at heart and would serve citizens well, but what any particular resident thinks are the city’s best interests may not match what Pennington or Bell have in mind. That’s a matter for voters to decide.
We received a letter suggesting that Pennington was responsible for the failure of Palm Plastics, a claim as silly as suggesting that the current council had anything to do with the Verniers’ decision to develop businesses at the former grocery. Things happen, both good and bad, no matter who is sitting in the council chamber.
Another letter mentions what to us is a more serious consideration—Pennington’s actions when the City was seeking a new administrator and Pennington was himself a candidate. If elected now, he would become the boss of the administrator who was hired—the one he lobbied against.
Between the two candidates, Pennington obviously has more time to devote to the job and he has the experience to lead what will become a very inexperienced council. However, that’s not to say that Bell won’t give adequate time, as well.
It goes back to the question of what a voter wants. Do you seek an active mayor with time to devote to an array of issues or do you favor giving that role to the city administrator? If you like Keith Pennington’s management style and if you’re pleased with his accomplishments—and there were several—then your choice is obvious. If you aren’t satisfied with his record in office, then again, your choice is obvious and Jeff Bell is your man.
You don’t need us to tell you how to vote. You just need us to remind you to mark your calendar and make your choice.