Approaching a Season of ChangeFeb 01, 2016 ● By Christine Perrenot
City Council elections are held annually on the second Saturday in May, and council members are elected at-large by Frisco citizens. From various levels of leadership experience to lengthy lists of community involvement, those running in 2016 for the Frisco City Council will undoubtedly have noteworthy credentials and feel they possess qualities that can bring positive and innovative change to the city. Current City Council positions are as follows: Mayor Maher Maso, mayor; John Keating, mayor pro tem, place 4; Will Sowell, deputy mayor pro tem, place 3; Councilman Allen, council member, place 1; Jeff Cheney, council member, place 2; Scott Johnson, council member, place 6 and Tim Nelson, council member, place 5. (Complete biographies and finance reports for City Council members can be accessed at friscotexas.gov).
“Change is inevitable any time that you have a political leadership structure operating under term-limits. The good news is that councils have always come and gone, and the city has continued to successfully grow, develop and mature,” Mr. Allen says. So, what are the important facts worth mentioning as we head into election season? Councilman Cheney has reached term limits after nine years of service to the community and there is the potential for multiple qualified candidates to fill his spot. Councilman Keating’s seat will be open, as he has filed as a candidate for Texas House District 33, running in the seat where Scott Turner recently announced he would not be seeking re-election.
It appears that a substantial number of changes in leadership are on the horizon for Frisco. Mr. Allen says, “There are many reasons for our continued success, not the least of which is our outstanding leadership staff and our employees. Equally important is the continued ‘can-do’ attitude of our citizens. Having been involved over the last 24 years and knowing where we’ve come from, it’s hard to imagine how Frisco has become a shining example to the world, but we have. Despite our accomplishments to date, I feel our best is yet to come, and I’m excited about what the future will bring.” In the past, Frisco has thrived on continuity and leadership. Change always has the potential to bring criticism, but new ideas are what help a city evolve, expand and grow. “The key is to work together, allowing the new members to gain from the experience of those before them. I’ve had the honor to serve with 14 different council members during my time on council and to work with many more. As a result of working with that variety of leaders, I can assure you that our greatest continuity of leadership has been our outstanding staff, especially from within our City Manager’s office,” Mr. Allen shares.
The Frisco City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month inside the City Council Chamber at the George A. Purefoy Municipal Center. Citizens can attend meetings, if they would like, which begin at 6:30 p.m. Citizens are permitted to give their input at 7:30 p.m. Let your voice be heard! As a community that thrives when we all perform our civic duty, let us do what we can to expand the growth and development in Frisco. “Voting is our most important responsibility in a free society. But, while I urge every American to vote, it’s my hope they cast an informed vote. As the time nears for the upcoming May election, I urge everyone to meet each of the candidates personally. Get to know them and make sure those candidates understand what is important to you and your families,” Mr. Allen says.
In the past, Frisco has seen less than 10 percent voter turnout. If the view of Frisco voters can be changed from only voting every four years in the presidential election to voting for important elections at the city level, we may begin to see much more positive action and change here in our city. With non-incumbents running for City Council positions in 2016, we may see spiked community voting interest. In order to cast your vote, your registration application must be received by the Voter Registrar’s Office or postmarked at least 30 days before an election for voting eligibility. In order to vote in Texas, you must meet the registration deadlines (March 1 Primary Election: register by Feb. 1; May 7 Limited Uniform Election: register by April 7; May 24 Primary Runoff: register by April 25 and Nov. 8 Uniform Election: register by Oct. 11). Additional information and helpful resources for voters can also be accessed at votetexas.gov.
As for the Frisco ISD school board elections, aside from potential leadership changes, there will also likely be concern shown for the recent rezoning decisions and the argument of adding time to the school day for students. School board elections will take place Sat., May 7, 2016, and three places, including 1, 2 and 3, will be on the ballot. For updated information or to learn more about potential changes to the FISD board, visit friscoisd.org.
If you are interested in becoming a candidate for May 2016’s General Election, applications for a place on the ballot must be filed before Fri., Feb. 19, 2016. Applications must be filed with the City Secretary’s Office. If you are interested in running for the FISD Board of Trustees, you may also file for a place on the ballot before Fri., Feb. 19, 2016. Packets can be picked up at the reception desk at the FISD Administration Building.