Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.
— Henry Clay
Star Valley mayor Chuck Heron has laid down his trust, after a long, arduous and honorable service to the residents of Rim Country and the voters of Star Valley.
But we come not to bury him — but to praise him.
Maybe kid him a little.
He put his stamp on Star Valley, with countless hours of effort, a fierce adherence to his principles and an inexhaustible willingness to put in that extra hour, to answer one more phone call.
Make no mistake, he’s an outsized character — in a place rich in characters. He could drive you nuts, talk you crossed-eyed, frustrate you ’til your nose bled.
But ever in service to his community.
Ever in the interest of his fellow citizens. Ever to further his vision of what Star Valley might become.
He didn’t have to spend all those hours of service. He didn’t have to walk door to door, crusade to protect the town’s water supply and attend to the bewilderment of details necessary to launch a town government.
His conservative instincts served the town well. The council’s careful attention to the bottom line has left it in an enviable position financially, despite the recession.
Granted, Chuck has a touch of the political barroom brawler in him, especially when it comes to topics close to his fierce heart — like the town’s water supply. Sometimes, the fights perhaps seemed too fierce — but he ever erred on the side of protecting the interests of the town he loved.
So thank you, Chuck: You have served your community — and fought the good fight. We all depend so much on those willing to take the blows and serve.
As Robert Louis Stevenson observed:
“I can say in the presence of my God and all of this assembled multitude, that I have honestly served my country and I have never wronged it.”
Council picks ignore politics
We couldn’t help but note the implications of the quiet, sensible appointment of Shirley Dye to the Payson Surface Transportation Advisory Board.
And a slew of other appointments and re-appointments, for that matter.
The council approved the appointments on the consent agenda, without discussion or dissent.
Why does that seem odd?
Because the quiet, low-key approach signifies a heartening shift in town politics — at least for this calm moment before the storm of the next election.
You may recall in the halcyon days before budget woes took over the council agenda, the council used to have fierce struggles about who to appoint to the more than 70 spots on various boards and commissions.
The political bitterness broke the surface with the proposed appointment of the hard-working, public-spirited Joannie King to serve on the traffic board. The council narrowly rejected that appointment, because she’d played a leading role in marshaling opposition to the proposed extension of Mud Springs Road — then the town’s top road building priority.
And given the deep divisions that developed in the last council election, one might have expected a season of payback and guard changing. Instead, the council shifted the nominating power to the vice mayor — giving that previously ceremonial office some additional responsibility.
Moreover, the most recent round of appointments took into account devotion to the town and hard-won expertise, without much sign of political consideration.
So the council appointed Dye to the traffic committee, although she was the most outspoken opponent of Mud Springs. And the councilors re-appointed Tom Loeffler to head the committee, although he fought hard to defeat members of the current council.
Meanwhile, the other unsuccessful, but public-spirited, council candidate — David Rutter — won reappointment to the parks and recreation board.
On the whole, the appointments made to those vital boards and commissions in the past year reveal a determination to take advantage of the skills and dedication of the citizens without regard to politics and past battles.
We applaud the council for that spirit — as we thank and honor those among us willing to dedicate their time and effort to making this the beloved community for which we all long.