The Tuesday, March 28 Roundup article reporting on the Payson police chief's implications that I have a bias against members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints is disturbing on a number of levels.
Based on our large positive margin in the primary election, we expected our opposition to do desperate things, but we never thought they would try to divide the community using religion as an issue.
The letter written by Chief Gartner totally misrepresents who I am. Anyone who knows me knows that discrimination is not part of my lifestyle. I have actively fought discrimination throughout my life and have never had anything but a good relationship with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In fact, I have a deep admiration for the quality of character I continue to witness among the members.
I did have a discussion with Chief Gartner during which I relayed a rumor I had heard regarding his department. He responded and I was satisfied. Issue closed, or so I thought. I am quite shocked that this has been blown so far out of proportion and that my opposition is trying to make it into a religious discrimination issue. As a potential town leader, I would be neglectful if I did not share the rumor with him no matter how much I discounted it.
The letter states that I have not contacted him, or made an effort to determine the hiring practices of the Payson Police Department. When we talked, he explained those hiring practices and I was satisfied there was no need to pursue it further.
The implication that I made negative comments regarding employees who happen to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not accurate and is further reason why this type of thing should be handled privately where all the facts can be gathered. An issue as sensitive as this, and with the history this issue has, should not be thrown into the political arena.
Anyone with questions regarding this matter can contact me at WethePeopleofPayson.com.
Bob Edwards, Payson