Aaron Walker: Accountability

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Independent Candidate for
Los Alamos County Council

In some of my other letters I have stated that accountability is a major problem within our county government. Too often, we see council setting vague or ambiguous expectations with little to no follow-through. I have seen this first-hand with the Community Development Advisory Board. The board was established due to significant public fervor over how the nuisance code was being enforced. Once we started meeting, we set our own path forward with what we felt we needed to accomplish, while following the vague guidelines set out for us. In the process of reviewing the violations, we determined that several of the processes that CDD were following were either unethical or potentially illegal. After a presentation to council, I was told that we were not created as “oversight” to CDD, but to recommend ways to improve the nuisance code. This gave the CDD leverage to hide behind the code to maintain several questionable policies and practices.

It all comes back on the county council. They are the elected representatives chosen to make decisions for the people of this county. Not setting clear and reasonable expectations falls on the council. Failing to hold county staff and other councilors accountable lies firmly on their shoulders. If the county council approves something without asking hard questions and getting quality answers for them, that is their mistake. If county staff are hiding behind “procedure” to conduct business in a manner that the people deem questionable, that is on the county council. If county council members are acting in a manner the people deem questionable, that falls back on the county council and its leadership. These issues have nothing to do with political party and should not be tolerated by either party. The county council is not a place to build a legacy or feed an ego. The county council is an opportunity to serve the people of the community and fairly represent them. 

I’m not running for county council to build a legacy or be remembered. I’m not running to serve my own ego. I am running because I see and hear people clamoring for a change and not many people in the county government listening to them. I’m running because I see councilors ignoring the plethora of public comment on some topics. I want to restore accountability and integrity to the county government. The military and being an elected representative don’t have a lot in common, but my 7 1/2 years of service in the U.S. Navy made it abundantly clear that the greater good comes before self. That is the mentality that I desire to bring to the county council.