Editorial: Appointment disappointment
January 21, 2012
The Moffat County Commission’s ouster of a longtime The Memorial Hospital Board member was a decision counter-productive to improving the hospital or bettering the community. The move has drawn criticism from community members, and the commission owes the public an explanation.
Countless hours of volunteer service over several years to a public agency apparently don't rate as much as they once did.
At least not to the three-member Moffat County Commission.
Last week, during a round of appointments to various county boards, commissioners essentially fired Missy Bonaker, chairwoman of The Memorial Hospital Board, a move the editorial board and several people in the community oppose.
Rather than reappoint Bonaker, who served the hospital since she assumed her late husband's position in 2004, commissioners chose Gary Ellgen, a former Moffat County School Board member and board president.
Commission Chairman Tom Gray tried to explain the governing body's decision on Bonaker, who was seeking another board term.
"We like to just kind of have … a mix of experience along with a mix of fresh ideas," he told the Craig Daily Press.
"We like to send the message that when you have a board, that there's always room for new ideas and new people.
"And you don't want to ever get into a position where the community thinks that once (board members) are there, they're there until (they) choose to go off."
The chairman's logic doesn't make sense considering the commission's reappointment of longtime hospital board member Don Myers in the same meeting.
Equally confusing was the commission's apparent lack of respect for Bonaker or her years of service.
Instead of doing the right thing and calling Bonaker to notify her of the decision and thank her for her years of service, the ousted board member was notified by a Daily Press reporter that she had been removed.
It should be noted Bonaker showed traits the commission lacked when learning of the appointment decision — class and respect.
This, however, isn't surprising since Bonaker exhibited those same traits, along with loyalty and dedication, while serving the hospital.
The editorial board extends its own thanks to Bonaker for her almost eight years of board service, which included helping shepherd TMH into a sparkling new facility west of town.
Bonaker served the hospital during some lean and difficult years, and her being ungraciously dumped now, in a period that finds TMH thriving, adds insult to injury.
But, it can't be argued Craig and Moffat County isn't better for her time working on the board.
The board also wishes Ellgen, who has been overlooked in this situation, the best of luck serving TMH.
The editorial board's criticism of the commission doesn't extend to his selection as a new board member, merely its treatment of Bonaker.
The editorial board believes the commissioners owe Bonaker an apology for the decision and notification oversight, and the public deserves an explanation.
As Gray pointed out, county boards are answerable to commissioners.
Likewise, we hope he's aware commissioners answer to taxpayers who put them in office and pay their salaries.
Like what happened with Bonaker, that could change, too.
After all, we don't want commissioners believing "once they are there, they're there until (they) choose to go off."
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