Message from the President
On behalf of the Executive Committee, thank you again for the trust you have given us and the Utah Association of Counties (UAC) staff to guide the Association into 2018. I am optimistic this will be another great year, built on the foundation of my predecessors, Mark Whitney, John Ulibarri, Kerry Gibson, and countless others – dating back to our first year in 1923.
As part of a school assignment at the age of 16, the father of our country, George Washington, penned the 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. They were inspired by a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595, but they resonated with him and served as a personal mission statement of sorts which heavily influenced his personal life, career, and politics.
Thomas Jefferson said of Washington:
“On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect, in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him . . . in an everlasting remembrance.”
This year, I call upon all members of UAC to follow in the footsteps of George Washington. I invite all of us to embrace and strengthen our resolve for greater civility in our homes, with our citizens and colleagues, and certainly with one another as county government officials. While there have always been plenty of examples of incivility among politicians, my initiative is not to point fingers at specific situations or individuals. Rather, I believe it’s an issue we can all work harder on and improvement will lead to some very positive outcomes for us as individuals and the counties as a whole.
By definition, civility includes polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior (particularly communication) in all of our endeavors as respected community leaders. At its core is the ability to claim an identity for ourselves that doesn’t mock or degrade the identity of others – regardless of their race, gender, religion, background, political persuasion, or ideas.
We can ALL improve in these areas and over the coming months of my administration at UAC, I will be sharing with you some thoughts, ideas, and reminders we can implement to create an environment that fosters a higher standard of civility. I also hope to incorporate some activities and discussions at our conferences and other appropriate times to further enforce this important initiative.
Join me as we re-discover our better selves as county officials. And please reach out to me with your ideas about this and other matters in which UAC can better serve you, our valuable members, on all county issues. I am here to serve you and, together, with the executive committee and staff, am looking forward to an amazing year in 2018.