"Coalition’ rolls up sleeves | VailDaily.com

"Coalition’ rolls up sleeves

Don Rogers

Punch cards were back in almost before the swearing-in ceremonies were done. Nino Licciardi, a near miss finisher in the previous recreation board election, now reigns as chairman.

Advisory boards of recreation district voters are on track, as is an audit of users’ satisfaction with recreation programs in Vail.

And oh yes, the rec board will now meet Tuesday nights at the Vail Town Council chambers on the council’s off weeks.

The previous board’s chairman, Hermann Staufer, is reduced for the moment to an afterthought. He and Tom Saalfield can vote however they like – doesn’t really matter, does it? With a mandate served up by 18 percent of the eligible voters, the coalition is Bush-like, wasting no time with the transfer of power.

And why not? The changes so far seem to make sense. The punch cards were popular with users if not the recreation district’s staff. They induce loyalty to Vail’s golf course, at least for 10 rounds, in the face of increasing competition. They bring a bit of extra revenue, since statistically users on average don’t play all those rounds.

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You can’t include your customers enough in the decision-making process, so advisory bodies and audits shouldn’t be a problem, for heaven’s sake.

As for changing the meeting time and place, hey, try it. We’re a little skeptical about genuine public participation in rec board meetings; these people can’t make the effort to vote, never mind sitting through long meetings.

The coalition – though they and their supporters chafed a bit at the characterization – deserve heart-felt congratulations on their well-organized campaign effort, pulling together on a platform of changes for the district, and working the absentee voting to their advantage.

In short, their effort and focus show their determination and commitment to the cause. May that energy continue now that they lead the organization, and may they make wise decisions in the years to come.

There is one cautionary we should in frankness bring up, as newspaper types committed ourselves to openness in government. That is this: As a majority and quorum of the board, this group must be scrupulous about avoiding informal discussions among themselves outside of official meetings about recreation district business.

What made for smart moves as a coalition seeking office now is illegal as board members. Their mantle now is public, and subject to public sunshine laws about how they conduct the public’s business.

We’re confident the new board majority is mindful of this and will conduct themselves with integrity and honor always.

Recreation issues in Vail are serious business. This is what this town and playground for the nation and world is all about. Congratulations and best of luck. A community is counting on you to always act in the best interests of recreational opportunities for Vail.


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