Newly elected Gilbert, Arizona, Councilman Jared Taylor says that he was just building a “catalog of resources” when he presented a survey for city employees to fill out.
Taylor’s survey sought the name, department, education and professional background of the employee. It then delved into more subjective issues like the employees opinion on government, citizen rights and the Constitution. Questions included:
“What do you believe is the role of government?”
“When was the last time you had a meaningful study of the U.S. Constitution?”
To the surprise of no one but Taylor, some people had a problem with this. When it was brought to Taylor’s attention that some employees were feeling intimidated by a councilmember asking them for their political beliefs, Taylor said the survey was not intended as a “litmus test.” He just wanted to know what the employees had to offer Gilbert.
The questionnaire was never passed onto employees in its original form. The human resource department intervened and deleted the political questions. That doesn’t lessen the inappropriateness of Taylor’s attempt to query the political thoughts of city employees, which sounds more like a quest for ideological purity from the Stalinist Soviet Union than from a nation with a strong First Amendment.
Uneasiness among city employees was amplified because Gilbert was a limited government, Tea Party-supported candidate. He’s argued against “needless oversight and regulation.” Following that up with a survey after the election in which political city employees are asked for their political philosophies is highly inappropriate. Ironically, Taylor vowed to “protect individual rights” during his campaign. It looks like that excluded city employees.