Miner Editorial | Councilman Stuart Yocum needs to resign and Council needs to lead
Originally published Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 06:07a.m.
Originally published Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 06:07a.m.
Seven members of our community have been chosen, via the ballot or as a political appointee, to lead the City of Kingman. These seven, City Council, are the face of Kingman. Their desires to make Kingman a better place to live led them to their seats.
By taking their places on Council, they agreed to hold themselves to a higher standard with higher expectations placed upon their shoulders.
The Daily Miner Editorial Board believes that while one of the seven has fallen way short as a face of Kingman, we also believe the other six members missed their opportunity to be true leaders.
The Daily Miner Editorial Board is asking for Councilman Stuart Yocum’s resignation.
Yocum faces a DUI trial in June after being arrested and charged with the offense in May 2017. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but since the arrest Yocum has shown that his should not be one of the first faces people see when they look at Kingman.
Yocum’s driver’s license was placed on suspension as a result of his DUI charge. He continued to drive and was convicted April 25 for driving with a suspended, revoked, or canceled license.
Yocum has shown low emotional maturity when he perceives “they are out to get him.” He has tried to gaslight local media by saying the arrest of a City council member is being sensationalized. He has resorted to public name calling of community members.
John C. Maxwell is attributed to the quote, “A true leader is one who is humble enough to admit their mistakes.” This does not describe Yocum.
Twice, publicly, Yocum had opportunities to humble himself like a true leader regarding his DUI arrest and suspended license conviction. Twice, he failed.
At the first Council meeting after his arrest, Yocum made a public statement. It lacked anything close to resembling remorse, even for putting the community in the position of having a council member charged with DUI, and instead said, “matters of this sort tend to get sensationalized.”
After being convicted last week, Yocum made on statement on his Facebook page. Rather than accept responsibility for his mistake, he chose to blame others and bemoan the fact he was fined $800 and that he could not afford to pay it and would have to give even MORE (Yocum’s emphasis) of his time and effort to Kingman by performing community serving in lieu of paying his penalty.
Yocum stated in the post, “despite that I was repeatedly informed that I was not” driving on a suspended license when announcing his conviction.
The City of Kingman has many multi-million dollar decisions that need to made in the near future. There is the Kingman Crossing interchange deal with Kingman Regional Medical Center to tune of about $25 million that needs complete and total focus from our elected leaders. The City has taken over control of the City of Kingman Municipal Airport and Industrial Park and will need leaders who can make the upcoming difficult decisions.
Stuart Yocum should not be involved in these decisions. Perhaps the irony of all ironies, he is a council member who did not know whether his license was suspended after being arrested and charged for DUI, and he may be deciding a matter of traffic safety regarding whether Kingman installs red light cameras or not.
The Daily Miner Editorial Board believes these are all reasons for Yocum to stand up, do the right thing, and resign his seat on Council. However, there is more fault to handed out.
The other six members of Council – Mayor Monica Gates, Vice Mayor Jen Miles, Vickie Kress, Travis Lingenfelter, Jamie Stehly, and David Wayt – have been completely silent on the issues surrounding Yocum. They are our leaders and they have been extremely passive regarding his behavior, even after he was convicted.
City Council’s duties include judging for themselves the qualifications and election of its own members, which was made apparent when Kress was appointed to the City Council by the City Council.
Mayor Gates has more blame to shoulder than the rest, and not only because she’s the mayor and supposed leader of Council.
Gates set precedent last year when she attempted to publicly shame a council member after a video was released showing that council member not having the best day of their life. The video showed an incident that occurred before the council member was in office and even before the council member ran for office.
Gates called a special meeting of Council, made a proclamation and had Council approve the statement that Kingman was the direct opposite of what the video conveyed.
However, when a council member is charged with a crime against society, one that put every single resident in jeopardy on the night of May 31, 2017, and then is subsequently convicted of driving on a suspended license – again putting Kingman residents in danger – the mayor is silent.
And so have been the other members of Council.
It is shameful that Kingman is being led this way. It is an exciting time to be a resident of Kingman, but it is also an embarrassing one that with all the monumental decisions which need to be made, our Council is acting passively by protecting one of its own. Council’s duty is to protect Kingman and its residents, and it is failing to do so.
The Daily Miner Editorial Board again asks for the resignation of Stuart Yocum. We also ask the rest of our Council to perform their duties like the leaders Kingman needs.