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Guest Editorial

Matt LeavittOakley

I would like to express some thoughts regarding the form of government change that the voters will address this election. To begin with, I feel that it is important to qualify my statements by stating that I attended several of the public input, public information and public hearings held during 2005 and 2006. I have read and re-read the proposal numerous times.

There are too many problems related to the proposed change that they could not all be addressed in a simple letter to the editor. Instead, I will list only a couple of those issues addressed by recent letters to the editor in favor of the proposal.

First, stop comparing the county to a city or a school district! Their functions of government are different. If a former mayor cannot understand the different functions, shame on us for having elected them as mayors.

Unlike cities, counties have officials elected to positions to oversee several of the executive functions of county government. As for financial oversight, Summit County has two very well qualified individuals who sit as elected stewards of the county’s finances. Our county has enjoyed excellent bond ratings as a result of their stewardship. A bond rating is a reflection of a county’s credit worthiness. Nationwide very few counties of our size enjoy a similar bond rating.

With the current three-member commission, I can speak with one commissioner and have influenced 33 percent of the commission. If the county government changes I would have to call two to speak with only 40 percent. Even then, the councilperson cannot have any influence upon the daily duties of the county manager. Therefore, I’ve lost all representation on the daily affairs of the county government.

Proponents of the change have played on words like "professional" without offering any explanation of what they are referencing. In the spirit of being vague, I would call the proposed change a collection of nonsense.

Not once did a single committee member step foot in any county office to even discover what employees do on a regular basis. And yet, they can make accusations of professionalism. How unfounded and absurd! How’s that for clarity?

Finally, don’t be fooled by the snake-oil salesmen who represent that the change in government will not raise taxes. The only reason they can make such a representation without lying to the public is that the plan calls for the council to have a salary of $1 per year. One dollar doesn’t even buy a bottle of water, let alone a council seat. The plan purposefully excludes the salary of the manager. Don’t be fooled.

While attending the public meetings, I have heard every sitting county commissioner call the proposal "not perfect." I’ve heard one commissioner, not Ken Woolstenhulme, say that the right thing to do is to incorporate the Basin. I have even heard one of the committee members in favor of the proposal say that, "smaller is better." If that’s the case, let’s either do the right thing or stick with smaller, better representative government.

Vote against Proposition 1.


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