As you should know if you read the local newspaper, Wickenburg resident Paula Hartwell was successful getting signatures on her petition to recall the mayor, Ron Badowski, and vice mayor, Jim Girard. My understanding of the procedure is that Badowski’s name will appear on the November ballot in Wickenburg, along with any other mayoral candidate. The people will vote and the candidate with the most votes will win.
I congratulate Ms. Hartwell for her efforts and admire her courage. Although many people complained about the mayor, none of them seemed willing to step forward and do something about him. Ms. Hartwell should be commended as a citizen who is willing to prove how much she cares about our town.
Over the past few weeks — since witnessing, first hand, the attitude and behavior of the Mayor at a Town Council meeting — I’ve spoken to numerous Wickenburg residents about the situation in Town Hall. The people I spoke to fell into two groups.
The people in one group throughly agree with the grievances Ms. Hartwell set forward in her petition. They can’t understand how such a man was elected and are anxious to get him out of office.
The people in the other group have known Badowski for several years; some of them are his accounting clients. They can’t understand how such a “nice guy” can be such a bad mayor and are amazed by his decisions and behavior. One person I spoke to, who has lived in Wickenburg his entire life and takes an active role in Wickenburg politics, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the mayor and agreed that it was time to get him out of office.
There’s even a Web site, RecallBadowski.com, with information about the Mayor’s actions over the past few years. The articles on the Web site include links to articles in the Wickenburg Sun and letters to the editor about the mayor and his unpopular actions. “RecallBadowski.com” bumper stickers have even started appearing on vehicles in town — I have one on my car.
With so many people supportive of the recall effort, it seems like it should be easy to replace the mayor. But replace him with who? Has another candidate stepped forward to run for the position? Without an opposing candidate, Badowski will remain in office and we’ll continue to see decisions and actions that will erode what’s left of Wickenburg’s small-town charm.
So here’s my call for a mayoral candidate.
Help Wanted: Mayor. Candidate must:
- care about the future of Wickenburg, for all Wickenburg residents — not just a select few.
- be honest and objective, without family or business ties to real estate ventures that could affect his/her ability to vote objectively on development issues.
- resist the temptation to form alliances with individuals or businesses that are more interested in profit than the quality of life in Wickenburg.
- understand the importance of maintaining Wickenburg’s small-town identity and the things that make it a desirable place to live.
- realize that raising town revenues requires more effort than simply annexing property, raising taxes, and juggling the town budget.
- work to improve Wickenburg’s economy by attracting the kinds of businesses and employers that will stimulate economic growth without putting existing businesses out of business.
- have and show respect for the voting public and be willing to listen, without interruption, to their comments and complaints.
- act, at all times, in a professional manner, especially when dealing with employees of the Town and members of the public.
- be willing to say “NO,” when necessary, to powerful or influential businessmen or members of Wickenburg’s “good old boy” network on matters that may negatively impact the town.
If you meet all of these requirements, you can make a difference in Wickenburg.