In the May 12 issue of the Herald-Times, Niki Turner writes: “Someone said that when we go through hard times, instead of asking ‘why is this happening’, we should ask ‘what then? I learn from this experience? ” Someone also said: “when a person has been defeated and is oppressed, offer him grace, love and even forgiveness, even if he has hurt you personally”. Indeed, I learned this at church from Niki Turner many years ago.
So why display such subtle but clear partisanship and jubilation in your editorial? Even the photo shown on the front page is partisan. Surely you have a more flattering picture of Mr. Moyer in a folder somewhere. Your overall message goes against “kindness” (see point 1 of the said article). Gary Moyer and his family, now defeated, need grace and love, not further humiliation. They have been part of this community for many years. Even though his style was rough, we knew what we were seeing was what we were going to get. We knew he would be a pragmatic, outspoken and often rude commissioner. Anyone who remembers his father expected Gary Moyer to tell you how the “cow ate the cabbage.” When he campaigned, some of his rhetoric sounded like that of his tough, tough lumberjack father. We, the elders, who participated in his election, knew that the apple did not fall far from the tree. Sure enough, Gary was willing to make tough decisions, even when such decisions were frowned upon.
But no, instead of constructive criticism, Gary Moyer was personally attacked. And all the personal attacks didn’t stop there, they migrated to his family members. But you see, that’s where it always seems to go these days. Hit your opponent hard, be personal, mean and don’t let go, even after their defeat. Canceling someone rather than confronting them appropriately is the new normal and that’s cowardly. And just for the record, Mr. Moyer wasn’t always right; like all of us, he deserved to be confronted for offensive behavior.
Looking from afar, it seems a good deal of Gary Moyer’s unpopularity was based on sour grapes. Everyone who led the charge in recalling Mr. Moyer was, in one way or another, faced with questionable behavior, held accountable, not reappointed or simply not hired for a position they did not were not qualified to occupy. Yes, Mr Moyer may have been too blunt in the public forum and considered arrogant, but so are many of his critics. Right after the election of our last commissioner, I was in the office of a county department manager seeking information on a matter that needed resolution. I happened to ask how the new commissioner would be received by county employees. The response I received was somewhat shocking. Paraphrased, it was, “well let me put it this way, it’s a big waste of time when a new guy comes in because I have to train him on how to do his job” (expurgated expungements). This individual may well be a little above reproach if a correction from a county commissioner is needed. And of course…
Recalls are an unpleasant, costly and divisive “solution”. The Colorado statue says a recall should only be made for “malfeasance, dereliction of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or because of a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude.” This recall was not based on any of these factors; it was, plain and simple, driven by revenge and sadly, paid for by you and me.
So, in the future, how about the citizens of Rio Blanco County make a pact. Rather than drag him and his family through the mud, if the one who serves is not up to our standards, let us exercise the power we have and weed out the “rogues”! And, unlike those of us who don’t want to run for commissioner, let’s not forget that they put their heads on the line to serve us; hold them accountable, but be kind in doing so.
And Mr. Moyer, of at least 715 residents, thank you for serving as RBC Commissioner. As for the recall supporters, what’s done is done – you won, Mr. Moyer lost. There’s nothing to debate and I’m not looking for it, I’m just expressing my opinion.
Paul “Buckshot” Sheridan
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