The Saratoga Sun -

By Mike Dunn 

Deserving of Thanks


Thanksgiving is upon us, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s one of the greatest American holidays out there — anytime you combine sitting around all day watching football and enjoying fantastic meals with family, it’s nearly an impossible combination to beat.

This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember what you are thankful for. As for me, I have so many things to be thankful for, listing them off before I dive into a delicious turkey and mashed potatoes would not do it justice.

But I think there is one group of people who everyone should be thankful for — and not just this year, but all of the time. It’s the public servants; those who dedicate their time to better their community.

It may seem pretty strange, but hear me out on this.

I might be biased simply because I attend most of the government meetings in the Platte Valley, however its truly amazing to me what these people endure for what they get in return (which is nothing a majority of the time).

An elected person spends a plethora of money on advertising just to let people know they are running. The hundreds of dollars they sink into newspapers and other media outlets is an amount they will likely not recuperate, even if they do get elected.

They then put themselves out in the public to be scrutinized and criticized. They submit themselves to public forums and interviews just so the uninformed public can judge them and find out if they are qualified to do a job.

In the off chance they are elected, they take time away from their family and work to sit through boring meetings which often last several hours. Then, the same people who voted for them a few months ago show up at public meetings and tell them they are incompetent at their volunteer job. And, yes, those statements will remain in the public record for as long as the United States is a country.

To make things worse, some 24-year old kid with armed with only a bachelor’s degree and a keyboard will write a story in the local paper of how bad the meeting went while criticizing them because they are not transparent enough.

I do not envy these people at all, and it is my job to make their job harder. However, I have a hell of a lot of respect for all of our elected officials.

The 2014 general election is bringing change to many boards throughout the Valley, and I think it is only appropriate to recognize them.

Last week, three members of the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD#2) Board of trustees left their positions. Janice Peterson and Laurie Johnston devoted four years of their life to the school district. Bob Patton devoted 16 (!) years to the schools.

You heard me: 16 years. I was eight years old and beginning to learn multiplication when he began his tenure.

How about the elected officials Saratoga? Saratoga Mayor John Zeiger and Councilman Steve Wilcoxson are closing the door on their political career after devoting years to the town of Saratoga. Do they get paid to do their job? Yes. But do they get paid enough for all of the crap that townspeople and the newspaper give them on a weekly basis? Not even close.

Mary Martin, who is known to be an valuable asset to her town, is going to be absent from the Encampment council for the first time in 16 years. The Bedwells in Riverside are no longer in office after serving their town for many years as well.

I understand politics bring out strong emotions towards elected officials, and you may not have agreed with those who I just listed. But that aside, you have to give these people a certain amount of respect.

So for those who did not get re-elected, thank you for your service to the community. I guarantee any of the critical things I wrote about you was purely business and not personal.

And those who are joining the boards and councils in January, my hats off to you. Rest assured, you have a bumpy road ahead of you.


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