Our View: The final say
January 20, 2010
It's a debate that's surfaced several times in Moffat County and one that has been decided upon by local voters. That is, whether to impose term limits on our elected officials.
Still, in an election year in which the political landscape of our community and state could change dramatically, the topic was raised as a point of debate during Monday's Editorial Board meeting.
The board couldn't come to a consensus as to whether to endorse or oppose term limits in Moffat County. Ultimately, board members decided the issue has pros and cons.
On the side supporting limits, board members agreed that the community already has spoken on this issue, and several times, in fact, the answer has been resounding — keep them in place.
The public's will, all board members agreed, is hard to argue with.
Also, today we live in a cynical age, an age where many people are simply fed up with government.
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It moves slowly; it acts on its own without regard for the people it's designed to serve; politicians or public officials aren't held accountable for their actions.
These are a sampling of the criticisms of government today, and probably the more kinder ones, at that.
Because voters want an additional safeguard against public servants who are either too inept or too irresponsible to look after the common good is understandable.
But as in most cases, there's a flip side.
The Editorial Board also contends that term limits, particularly in a small community such as our own, works against the public's benefit when qualified candidates are sometimes hard to find and later replaced, or for positions that require a particular skill.
One such case would be the position of county coroner.
Our own in Moffat County is term limited, and yet there aren't many others who could fill that position as skillfully as the current office holder.
However, these concerns are somewhat moot given the public's statement by voting to keep term limits in place, and because the final say on term limits ultimately resides with each individual voter.
If a candidate hasn't done his or her absolute best to earn your vote, you have the power to make a statement by choosing someone else.
If a candidate simply is relying on name recognition or a so-called presumption of being a heir apparent rather than aggressively courting and winning your support, speak loudly on Election Day at the ballot box.
Show them that each voter can matter.
Our community's affairs are too important to be left up to anyone other than the public collective. When it comes to term limits, maybe the issue should be revisited.
Then again, until the community speaks out and says that's the case, term limits simply are part of our political reality.