Vail Daily letter: No pay, no power
Vail, CO, Colorado
My wife and I went to the forum on Thursday night to meet the candidates for Eagle town trustee. Many of us submitted questions in writing, and the facilitators asked some of them.
We wanted the candidates to be asked if they thought a change in town staff was a good idea. Two of the candidates have only been in the town for a few years, and we wonder if they are aware that the town manager has been in his position for a very long time.
We believe it is important to start a conversation about how the town is managed, who gets paid and how much. How are things structured in the area of who sets policy and who implements it?
We have had the concern that the town manager is the real power in Eagle even though he is not elected. It seems that the trustees on the board are paid so little and many of them seem to have so little time to do a good job that they must rely on the experience of the town manager for insight and guidance in any and all areas and issues. This gives the town manager way too much influence.
In the past, I have noticed the mayor seems like he has a little too much on his plate. It is a tragedy that we elect people to do a job that is so important and yet we expect them to do it in their spare time in addition to their real jobs and taking care of their families.
Past projects as large as Costco or Eagle River Station should not be entrusted to volunteers. Governing a town should not be charity work. We believe that to have good governance in Eagle, we need to restructure the way things are done.
At a minimum, we should pay the mayor more than a pittance, require a minimum amount of time on the job and hold him or her accountable for the work done. Let’s hire a new town manager who will carry out the policy of the Town Board and not make policy on his or her own.
How is it that the town of Eagle has had voter turnout as low as 12 percent in past Town Board elections? Eagle River Station certainly woke people up. What will keep the town’s people from going back to sleep? Paid elected officials could be required to go out and get involved with the residents and be leaders. No excuses.
Why does the Town Hall have no parking under it for Broadway businesses? Why do we not have a year-round swimming pool? Why is the post office on Chambers and not in town? Why is the airport not in Eagle? Why didn’t Eagle partner with Gypsum to build the most amazing recreation facility that could be enjoyed by both towns? Why is it that the town of Gypsum has been so successful and the town of Eagle has not? We believe it is a lack of vision and tenacity.
Eagle’s population has more than doubled since the build-out of Eagle Ranch and other developments. Most of the new population is young. Now is the time to tap the energy of the population and let the future leaders of Eagle emerge.
It is time for a real shake-up of the town of Eagle government.
Bob and Cindy Callicrate