Each of our county commissioners was elected, in part, based on the sum total of their job experiences.
Experience is valuable: people with limited job or life experience rarely get elected. Julie Westendorff was prosecutor for the Southern Utes; she was also a Realtor and understands how county policies directly affect home and business values. Brad Blake owns two separate businesses, a plumbing business and a solar construction company.
Where Blake Mechanical gives him real-life understanding of complicated county and city building requirements, his solar experience has shown him the benefits of renewable energy.
Gwen Lachelt is a national expert on oil and gas issues with more than 30 years of fighting for private citizens' rights.
Lachelt was called out harshly last week in Board of County Commissioner hearings by folks obviously primed by Christi Zeller, head of the fossilized La Plata Energy Council.
Many in the room said that Lachelt should recuse herself from oil and gas decision making because of her "conflict of interests."
The county attorney very clearly determined that Lachelt obviously does not have any: she does not benefit financially in any way by her positions on air, water and land stewardship. Her passion for these, indeed, is why so many of us did just "re-hire" her. If Lachelt needed to recuse herself from any oil and gas decision, then Westendorff should not be involved in any decisions on real estate or land use codes, or in any negotiations with the Southern Utes. And Blake should not be allowed to vote on the County Land Use Code, nor to bid on any projects, private or public, within this county.
Obviously, that's ridiculous. Elected officials should be encouraged to have diverse, real life experiences - and to voice their consciences - to benefit us all.