Local News

Town Council Election Update...Candidate Petitions Filed

May 31, 2014

Absentee Tusayan business owner Elling Halvorson may not care to live in Tusayan but his employees seem drawn to local government. Yet another one of his employees wants a seat on the Tusayan Town Council. All but one member of the Council is employed by Halvorson or his business partner, Stilo. Halvorson and Stilo are the forces behind a controversial development project that will dry up water supplies and cause irrevocable harm to the environment.
The incumbents who have filed for re-election to the Tusayan Town Council are Craig Sanderson, John Rueter, and Bill Fitzgerald. Sanderson works for Halvorson as a pilot, Rueter works for Stilo and Halvorson as a property manager, Fitzgerald manages the Tusayan post office which has no ties to developers.

Enter Rebecca Wirth. She is not a familiar face in Tusayan government. She has not served on any municipal boards or commissions and she has not attended very many Town Council meetings.

At one of the few meetings she did attend in October 2011, she spoke out in favor of the Stilo development plan and opined that as a resident of Valle she would prefer to live in Tusayan. Months later she was able to obtain Halvorson-owned housing. And it was just in time for her husband Robert to successfully run for the Sanitary District in 2012. Here is a link to a story we did on Robert Wirth’s residency.

Bob is a maintenance manager at Halvorson’s Big E Steakhouse and Rebecca is the manager of the Halvorson-owned gift shop at the Tusayan airport.

Bill Fitzgerald has lived in Tusayan for more than 20 years. Before he was appointed to the Town Council he was a member of the citizens housing committee. He was also a regular attendee at the council meetings.

Fitzgerald is a consistent voice for Tusayan residents taking Stilo to task for failing to deliver affordable housing or coming up with a water supply for its development. He has also noted that more council business relating to Stilo should be done out in the open as opposed to in closed session.

Stilo responded by threatening to sue Fitzgerald, fabricating complaints, and complaining to Bill’s employer. The efforts have failed to silence the Tusayan councilman.