As I read Richard Wojciechowski’s letter denigrating County Commissioner Lynn Padgett in last week’s Watch, I’m reminded of the old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
I’ve known Lynn Padgett for eight years, and I am well aware that, contrary to Mr. W.’s accusations, she is not a career politician who would use us as a stepping-stone for her political aspirations. Lynn is a mother, wife, professional geologist and committed citizen who cares enough about Ouray County to serve as our County Commissioner. She does so by working more than full time on a fixed salary.
She has the personal initiative and savvy to tackle complex issues and takes on extra projects that benefit all of us “on both sides of the aisle.” For that, Mr. W. berates her publicly, is suspicious of her motives, and advocates replacing her with someone less qualified for the job. I am baffled by people who put partisan politics and ideology above what’s beneficial to their county and their own self-interest.
Does it really make sense that we, the taxpayers and employers of our public servants, should fire Lynn Padgett and get someone else for the job? Consider the following:
Rather than costing us more money, as insinuated, Lynn’s extra efforts have actually improved the fiscal health of Ouray County. In her first three years on the job, all four major county funds (General, Road and Bridge, Social Services and EMS) showed an increased balance of more than $700,000. Additionally, thanks to Lynn’s leadership, we now save $116,000/year on jail and courthouse costs, communications and Internet expenses.
Lynn took the initiative to fight for federal and state payments that Ouray County deserves, providing essential funds to our Road and Bridge Dept., local schools and the county General Fund.
The “political charm school” Mr. W. mentioned is actually a slur against the high honor Lynn (and Ouray County) received when she was one of just 19 locally elected officials chosen out of the entire nation to attend the 2011 National Assoc. of Counties leadership class. This cost the county less than half of what we pay for other employees to attend the Rocky Mountain Leadership class.
Lynn has been a loyal friend to local agriculture and led the effort to legalize the sale of farm and ranch goods directly to the consumer. She is devoted to bringing broadband Internet to our area, thereby attracting professionals and new businesses. By defending us against unnecessary regulations and unfunded mandates, Lynn has shown that she believes in
keeping our county government small and local.
There’s a good reason that a bipartisan committee chose Lynn Padgett 2011 Commissioner of the Year, out of all the commissioners in the state, and it wasn’t for “learning a few acronyms” or “schmoozing” with politicians, as Mr. W. would have us believe.
Former Commissioner Heidi Albritton summed it up best when she said, “Lynn is the hardest working commissioner I have ever met. She puts in countless hours and miles on behalf of Ouray County, and we have all reaped the benefits of her labors. Her tireless defense of local control at the state level has helped rural counties preserve what little local authority they have, and her work on broadband infrastructure could fundamentally diversify our local economy. She has worked diligently on behalf of Ouray County since her first day in office and has more than earned a second term.”