The rules of engagement | AspenTimes.com

The rules of engagement

Dear Editor:Following the latest political hot potato in Basalt has reminded me of my experience with people that are bent on using whatever means necessary, including compromising an elected official, to achieve their end. Single-purpose agenda groups, the vocal minority, will use and abuse whatever and whomever they can to further their cause. It is the community’s loss when that happens.The neo-elected need to be careful who they engage with at any given time during any given process. Years ago, due to a perception that there were problems with elected officials engaging in too many ex parte conversations, we all swore an oath to behave a certain way. When approached by a citizen who wanted to comment on the pros or cons of a specific application before the board, we agreed that we would politely request that they attend the hearings and give their opinion for the record or submit a letter. At the next regular meeting we would disclose that the “ex parte” conversation had occurred. From my view point it worked great.The single-purpose agenda groups with intent create significant risk for the community and seem to have little regard for consequences. Their cause can suffer greatly if inappropriate behavior is exhibited. The system works if used as it is designed. Trust the process, but do not try and compromise it as it most always backfires. Trust and support your officials, and you will get the right result. Putting an official in a place where they may have to leave the game is not the way to get business done.Rick StevensBasalt (Former mayor of Basalt)