Letter: The reason for term limits
February 10, 2015
To the Editor:
People who serve their communities in public office are thought by their constituents to stand as pillars of those communities. They are expected to act in a manner that stands as an example to their fellow man.
Those who serve in public capacities wield a certain amount of power, and that power, no matter how insignificant or inconsequential, begins to erode the ethos of even the most principled individuals. The longer a public official, whether elected or not, remains at their station, the more power eats at their ethical foundation — that is the corrupting nature of power.
Our last election replaced a sheriff, judge and commissioner — positions that [in two cases] had been held far beyond the eight year precedent George Washington set after stepping down from two terms as president. Our citizens are waking up to the need to replace people in positions of power as a deterrent to its corrupting influences.
Today, Grand County has a sitting commissioner under investigation for various behaviors that, at the very least, stand as clear violations of ethics. We still don't have a clear picture of what may come to light from this, but this same commissioner has presided over a nearly half million dollar internal theft and has shown much restraint in handling those responsible.
Our county attorney has also thrown his hat in the ring, presumably to defend the actions of a single commissioner. This begs the question — who is he representing? The interests of the commissioner, or those of the people of Grand County? How does it reflect on our leadership when the county attorney resorts to ad hominem attacks on a member of a citizens group, and even goes so far as to privately pursue members of that citizen's family?
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At the end of the day, justice will be served. I believe the spotlight of public criticism shining so brightly on our county manager, county attorney and county commissioner clearly shows that term limits are good not just for elected officials, but those unelected officials who wield outsized power in their respective positions.
It's time for some new blood at the county, don't you think?