Editorial: Do the right thing
Editor’s note: Codi Fisher was unable to attend this week’s meeting of the Editorial Board and did not participate in the development of this position.
To the enthusiastic applause of a room packed with friends, family, and interested community members, Moffat County’s newest elected officials took their oaths of office Tuesday morning, then immediately turned their attention to the public’s business.
We offer our congratulations to the county’s newest public servants, as well as our heartfelt thanks for their willingness to sail into the often stormy seas of political discourse in service to their community.
Holding public office is a difficult, but essential job, and we can never be grateful enough to those who make personal sacrifices to fill these vital public roles.
That said, we challenge our new officials to step fearlessly into the uncertain landscape and always remember that your first and most important job is to serve the people who — by giving you their votes — have also given you their trust.
With that in mind, we encourage you to keep a few key points firmly in mind as you embark upon your new journey.
First — and so far as you are able — look for ways to cooperate and compromise. Recent national headlines demonstrate all too clearly what happens when elected officials — officials of both parties — fail to do this. The best solutions usually rise from the crucible of disagreement, and the greatest progress is generally made when good people with differing opinions sit down, talk, and forge solutions to the benefit all concerned. Please keep this in mind.
Second, listen. Each of you was elected because you campaigned on messages that resonated with voters and aligned with their views about what needs to be done. But the willingness to listen all too often evaporates once the final vote has been counted, and this is unfortunate. Now that you are in office, listening to the people you serve becomes all the more crucial. We realize you will sometimes make difficult decisions with which some of us will not agree, but we ask you to listen thoughtfully to your constituents before making those decisions.
Third, resist the temptation to change too much too soon. Processes are usually in place for a reason, and though we encourage you to actively look for more efficient ways of doing things, please take the time to carefully analyze existing protocols and identify their strengths and weaknesses. In this way, you can make educated decisions about what needs to be changed and how those changes should be introduced.
And finally, continue to foster intergovernmental cooperation. Remember that the county and the cities that lie within it will often have similar challenges and goals. Look for ways governmental entities can pool resources and combine efforts to create a more effective service system for the citizens of Moffat County. The opportunities are out there; it is incumbent upon you to find and facilitate them.
Before administering the oaths of office Tuesday, Moffat County Court Judge Sandra Gardner offered brief remarks to the county’s new officials, and we close by borrowing from her wise words.
“Looking at our politics on a national level, 2018 has been quite a year, and 2019 already promises to be, as well, as our country enters the third week of a government shutdown caused by the inability to engage in non-partisan discussions,” Gardner said. “ May we here in Moffat County not mirror what is happening on the national level. May we engage in meaningful discussions and recognize the power of words, which includes the ability to lift up and empower others — not use words to ridicule, discourage, and tear down others.
“In doing your jobs, always ask questions; always speak the truth; and always have the courage to have the hard conversations.
“And why do this? Because you care about the people, the issues, and the wellbeing of this community. You are leaders in not just your departments, but the community as a whole, and the people looking to you for guidance, direction, and support.”
We agree wholeheartedly with the judge’s admonition and join her in wishing you success.
Your success is our success, and we’re behind you all the way.