Opinion

Ertel: What matters in a candidate is experience, character

Posted 10/12/22

Many years ago, in my first job after the Army, I was hired by a music recording company to bring in-house the account reconciliation function. The company would ship recordings to distributors and …

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Opinion

Ertel: What matters in a candidate is experience, character

Posted

Many years ago, in my first job after the Army, I was hired by a music recording company to bring in-house the account reconciliation function. The company would ship recordings to distributors and bill them, but the distributors would dispute many of the bills and refuse to pay.

For months my employer had hired a consulting firm to reconcile those accounts and collect what was owed. In time it realized it needed to stop paying consultants and bring that skill inside. So for a couple of months I shadowed the consultants to learn how it was done.

The principles and techniques were pretty straightforward and easy enough to grasp quickly. So for two months I mostly flew around the country to watch people talk about details. How I really learned to actually do the job was when I started doing it. Sure, I learned some by watching. But I learned a lot more by doing.

What’s the point of this? What does this have to do with the Scottsdale City Council race?

The voters are down to two candidates.

One is a CPA working in a small local accounting firm, auditing East Valley businesses. Since moving back to Scottsdale from Boston, he has gone through the financial records of companies that make and sell goods and services.

While those companies produced, he watched. He also served on Scottsdale commissions — the board of adjustments and transportation commission for over eight years in total, and then a year and a half on the planning commission.

As producers came forward with proposals to build, he watched, evaluated, and made recommendations about approval. That’s his experience. Watching and opining.

The other candidate, Pamela Carter, has hands-on experience. With her then-husband, she started a fitness and rehab gym in Scottsdale. In addition to training the women members, Carter managed the treasury side of the business. When the training market shifted, Carter took her skills to TV, performing in a nationally broadcast fitness program.

This led to other ventures — station management and film production. More recently Carter has served in nonprofits and political campaigns and consults on communications. That’s Pamela Carter’s experience: doing, building, producing.

Both candidates adamantly oppose new apartment buildings. For one candidate, that’s pretty much his whole campaign. Carter, on the other hand, addresses public safety, water conservation, homelessness remediation via public-private cooperation, and other issues.

One candidate listens to his small and tight-knit base and goes along with them to get along with them. Pamela Carter reaches out to the whole community, including those (like me) who disagree with some of her positions.

Carter doesn’t even hint she might modify a stance to curry favor. That’s OK. Because character matters, too.