As election season quickly approaches, we need to start looking at some of the issues that will be on the ballot. And there are a few doozies.
This week I will start with the question posed by our current county commissioners asking us to extend their terms for four years. Truly? Is this some kind of sick joke?
Anyone with a working brain knows that the best thing to do to fix the problems in Washington is to find a way to impose term limits. So tell me why, in the name of God, would anyone think we should go down that rabbit hole in Eagle County? I mean it’s incredibly arrogant of our commissioners to think that someone could even consider such a thing. As if we can’t live without them deciding our future.
You know, in the old days, long before anyone decided that it was a lot to feed in the public watering hole as a career, politicians took turns. “OK John,” Ben said, “I’m going to go to Congress and serve this term, but when it’s over it will be your turn. I have to go home and take care of the farm. It never occurred to the Founding Fathers or their early successors that serving in government was meant to be a lifelong work.
Of course, at that time they weren’t paid. They did it out of love for the country and out of a need to serve. The goal was to help form a government that defined a country in which men could grow and prosper under a system that guaranteed freedom and limitless opportunities to its citizens.
First meeting in New York then moving to Philadelphia, it was not until 1800 that the District of Columbia became the center of government. But it took a long time for the free ride to begin. As early as Teddy Roosevelt, we expected elected officials to finance themselves when they come to power. Taft received the support of his brother to pay for his lifestyle on the nation’s Capitol.
I don’t know when the system changed so drastically that we started footing the bill, but when it did, the incentive was there to continue. Elected officials began to believe that we owed them the way of life they enjoyed at our expense. And now they are doing anything and everything to keep this going.
So the question in November is, do we want to help ease this vicious cycle where being elected for the first time sets the stage for a lifelong career? One of the supposed justifications for asking for this extension is to ensure continuity – to take advantage of their expertise and not put new people in charge when these Commissioners have such a wealth of knowledge.
Leave me alone. Kathy Chandler-Henry will already have served 11 years at the end of her current term and if this vote passes, she will be able to serve four more. Just to be clear, she was appointed for her first term and that term did not count for an eight-year elected official, as the system now allows. So if this bill passes, she could get another four years for a whopping 15 years total. As Joe would say, “Come on, man. Enough is enough.”
And oddly enough, none of the current commissioners, who were tasked with asking voters this question, hinted that they would not benefit from this decision. Typically, for example, if a city council decides to vote a salary increase for the offices they hold, this does not apply to their tenure and only effect their replacements.
Not these guys. If that passes, they are ready to step up their efforts for another four years “for the good of the community”. What they really mean is for their own good, also known as pluck their own nest. It’s their motivation, but it shouldn’t be ours.
Vote no on this dangerous and arrogant request. It has been proposed and voted on before and lost for good reason. Voluntarily signing up for preventable issues is, well, let me quote Joe again, “Come on, man. It’s crazy.
Kaye Ferry is the Republican President of Eagle County.