The resolution had a groundswell of support in the community and was passed by a large margin of 30-13. However, a number of establishment precinct chairs who support toll roads did not want their pro-toll stance known to the voters.
At the start of the meeting, a motion was made by Precinct 82 Chair Jodi Ruonavar to have all the meeting’s votes made by secret ballot as opposed to in the open as they have always been.
The motion was swiftly voted down 24-16 with no discussion.
Had it passed, it would have struck a blow to transparency, and could have set a bad precedent of executive committee meeting decisions being made in secret. Voters would then have no way to hold their precinct chairs accountable for bad votes.
Several chairs are currently struggling for re-election in tough primary races. By hiding their votes from their constituents in a shroud of secrecy, they could have prevented their less-than-conservative voting record from being seen by voters and hurting their re-election chances.
Pct. 29 Chair Linda Stuckey, who voted for the secrecy motion and is herself facing a strong primary challenger, admitted on social media that they did not want a public vote because they felt “intimidated” by the grassroots. “I think they may have voted differently if they could have had anonymity,” she said.
Stuckey’s challenger, Maureen Ball, disagrees. “Any vote by an elected representative should be open. Without a public vote there is absolutely no transparency in representative democracy.”
Jon Bouche, who is running in Pct. 35 against another incumbent who supported the secrecy motion, Marisa Rummell, also condemned the motion:
“I was appalled at the group of precinct chairs who fought to hide their vote from their constituents and then were bitter that they were not allowed to do so.”
Adrian Kaiser, who is challenging yet another pro-secrecy incumbent, Pct. 66 Chair Ron Roach, also had strong feelings about the issue. “I find it offensive that members would hide their vote behind a secret ballot as a way to not be held accountable by their constituents,” said Kaiser. “Elected officials should not be able to hide in the dark.”
The precinct chairs who voted for the motion to hide their voting record from their constituents are:
Landon Estay Pct. 6
David Tate Pct. 17*
Alan Moore Pct. 21
Pat Cullum Pct. 22
Scott Baker Pct. 23
Linda Stuckey Pct. 29*
Amy Van Horn Pct. 32
Marisa Rummell Pct. 35*
Charlie Parada Pct. 38
James Gilbert Pct. 39
Jim Schulze Pct. 40*
Sandra Mobley Pct. 55
K.T. Jackson Pct. 62
Ron Roach Pct. 66*
Ann Kate Pct. 72
Jodi Ruonavar Pct. 82
*Indicates precinct chairs who are being contested.