[A Word From Our Publisher: I’m being sued by Raph Graybill for basically everything right now, over our editorial policy which, we refuse to change. However, seldom has any article elicited the response of this op-ed by Nick Ramlow, regarding Ronalee Skees. Is the MDG anti-Skees???? But here’s the thing, folks. As Democrats are happy to censor their critiques, silence them, gag them, and put them in the gulgag, we conservatives are eager and happy to have debates, including those that may or may not be the view of our publisher. An Op-Ed is just that, an opinion editorial, and usually not written (but not always) by someone at our newspaper. Since the first time I offered such an opportunity to run an op-ed from Roger Kooopman (he’s yet to do so), back when he was angry over coverage regarding Randy Pinnocci, few take me up on my offer to enter the fray. Share your opinion. Give us your facts. Please. I’m very pleased that Ronalee Skees has chosen to respond to Ramlow’s op-ed, and did so with class. Conservatives are capable of such discourse]
[Ronalee Skees] This op-ed is responding to a personal opinion letter posted January 21, 2022 calling for the resignation of Pam Holmquist and Ronalee Skees from the county board of health.
The letter did not provide context of what that vote was, nor the fact that if that was held today, after we all know what we know; it may not be the same. Yet, the writer offered that vote with today’s perceptions acting like it happened yesterday.
The facts of that vote the writer neglected to recognize:
It was a procedural vote to support a statement, not an action empowering a lock-down.
The date was March 2020, and we didn’t know anything about this virus beyond what was reported at the time, or the failure the CDC would prove to be later.
This was a President Trump emergency order, and many thought he was doing what he could.
The governor had us in lock-down regardless of that vote due to his emergency order state wide.
It really didn’t matter what any on the board thought, as the code at that date gave the health officer too much power (the legislature changed that in law with bills passed in 2021).
The vote was symbolic to show solidarity and leadership from the group in the face of something none of us knew could happen and the community focused on the Board for help, as many were being whipped into a panic by national efforts.
The board left the restaurants and bars open outside and for drive through, rather than shut down like many areas did. In fact, this action is part of what led the governor to sue those key restaurants individually because with the Boards help, they remained open.
Some additional, relevant facts:
The Flathead never shut down because of any action of the board of health, just by the state derived law given to the health officer and the actions of the emergency powers given to the governor.
The board can only reprimand the health officer, define their duties and recommend action: only the commissioners can remove them from contract.
The writer of the letter may not have realized, and if did, chose to ignore (which is worse) the excellent work the subcommittees have done to keep bad policy from even reaching the board. Specifically, the Covid subcommittee, where Pam and Ronalee killed bad policy statements and actions, the previous health officer said in a meeting that they were blocking everything she wanted to do. Where is your praise or recognition for that?
In a voting board, nothing happens alone and many great things 4 members of the Board of Health (the two mentioned for removal included in that number) have done by killing proposals with tie votes that were bad for the community.
Finally, in 2020 there was an effort by many in the community to demand for Dr. Bukacek to be removed from the Health Board. This outcry included many public comments and a circulated petition. The members of the board stood with Annie on the appointment and continued to work with her and listen to her ideas. Now she is calling for a removal from the same board of two members that she now opposes. Annie does not realize that a healthy debate on a governing board does not include a protest of the board that you serve on if you are not getting what you want. Public comment stirred into frenzy by the protest coming from Annie is not the same as public comment looking to the board for remedy. The board meeting that the letter was derived from proved that the commenters were not looking to the board for answers. They gave their impassioned remarks then left before the Health Officer report or the board comments could address the concerns expressed.
Diversity of thoughts, respectful disagreement, and process conflict (disagreement over process or procedure) are valuable to successful people and leaders. The person that stimulates debate stimulates innovation. The person who stimulates conflict brings division. We need to come together on what unites us and work on the differences before it divides us.
[Publisher’s Note: This is an op-ed. It’s not mine, so don’t yell at me]