Anger. Embarrassment. Incredulity. "What were they thinking?" These are the responses of many since County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke appointed state Senator Don Benton as Clark County's director of environmental services.
No laws were broken, but the fact you can do something is no assurance you should do it. Appointing Benton is an abuse of power. Madore and Mielke should have used the board majority opportunity wisely. Instead they alienated Democrats, independents, and many Republicans, including many of us with decades of experience in grass-roots politics.
Hiring Benton erodes the reputation and trust for Mielke and Madore, as well as Benton. There may be no technical conflict of interest but it comes close to the line. I agree our county needs economic growth and smaller government but lasting improvements aren't accomplished like this.
When I moved to Vancouver in the 1980s, the GOP needed rebuilding. We built a grass-roots organization to be proud of, electing candidates like Linda Smith, Slade Gorton, Greg Kimsey and Garry Lucas, and nominating principled, intelligent people like Bob Williams and Rob McKenna. None of them behaved in such a high-handed manner as Madore and Mielke, who need to hear from those who disagree.