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Letter: Elected officials fail public trust by shunning informed judgment

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) David Alvord is shown in Butterfield Canyon near Herriman.

Salt Lake County Commissioner David Alvord recently defended his vote to repeal the Health Department’s recent mask mandate. Given constituent feedback overwhelmingly opposed the mandate, he maintained that relying on that input was “perfectly appropriate.” Certainly, it’s uncomfortable facing angry constituents.

However, while our representatives should dutifully consider constituent views, they have a greater obligation to make decisions based on reliable information and their own good judgment to ultimately further the best interests of the community. Elected officials fail their public trust bowing to pressures (from whatever sources) which push them to make decisions contrary to their informed judgment. If constituents were all-knowing and all-empowering, acting on the demands of enraged lynch mobs would be “perfectly appropriate.”

Vote to repeal, or uphold, the mask mandate. Either way, vote your best judgment. More importantly, explain yourself to inform and lead your constituents. That’s the real public trust of elected office.

Bill Anderson, former City Council member, South Salt Lake

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