|It’s my job to meet with community leaders regularly|
|Written by Trista Steers MacVittie|
|Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00|
I occasionally eat lunch with the Sedona Fire District fire chief, and apparently some people in the community have a problem with that.
If those same people were at a West Sedona breakfast joint Thursday morning, March 31, they would have noticed I was eating breakfast with Mayor Rob Adams, as I do every single month.
Earlier this week I met with Sedona-Oak Creek School District Governing Board member Zach Richardson at my office. I didn’t have time to join him for lunch, but would have been happy to if it were possible.
I also meet with City Manager Tim Ernster on occasion to talk about the newspaper and what’s going on in his world.
That’s all part of my job.Since SFD Fire Chief Nazih Hazime came on board over a year and a half ago, we have had lunch together four times. I have never had dinner with Hazime.
In the same time period I’ve eaten breakfast with Adams at least 15 times, but nobody seems to have even noticed.
When I go to lunch with government staff or elected officials to discuss newspaper issues, I always pay for myself so people can’t say I’m being bribed.
My meetings with Hazime are far less exciting than those who are worried about them may think. We always talk about what has been covered in the newspaper lately, communication between my staff and his, and the next Facts from the Chief column.
It is true Hazime is the only person from SFD I meet with, but that’s only because he’s the only person who has ever asked.
Not a single board member has ever even called me, let alone asked me to sit down to a discussion about our coverage or their vision for the district. If they did, I would be happy to meet with them.
The same is true for any Sedona City Council or SOCSD board member.
For me and my staff to be able to do our job, we need to have good working relationships with the entities we cover. We may not agree on every issue, but we’ve learned to disagree gracefully, which is the professional way to handle it.
If a board or community member is concerned about meetings I have or the newspaper’s opinion on any given issue, they are invited to call me. Anonymous calls and harassment won’t get them anywhere.
My job is to keep abreast of the issues in the community and to do so, I need to meet with community leaders.