To the editor:
The Marion County Commission has chosen to collectively address your recent editorials, including the submission in the Nov. 18 issue of the Marion County Record, and express our concerns about the content and tone of the same.
Each of us, as commissioners, honors freedom of the press and transparency in government. We also value legitimate disagreement in views, opinions and values. Each of us individually chose to run for public office and subject ourselves to criticism, public discourse, and the responsibility for actions we take or refrain from taking in what, we each believe, is in the best collective of our county residents and constituents. We each try to carry out the duties of our elective position to the best of our abilities and in good faith as fiduciaries of the public trust.
It is our fervent hope to serve the public will as best we can ascertain what that may be in a given situation considering the existing circumstances. We all support fair, factual reporting of our actions and activities while serving the public trust on this board.
What none of us has ever consented to is lack of civility. Nor have we, as a serving board, or individually as member thereof, acquiesced to being subject to unsubstantiated, inflammatory, groundless, or uncorroborated accusations.
While editorial license is recognized as a form of public communication, we do not believe it extends to references to cult association and shriveled up organs.
Likewise, we fail to see how this pandemic has become the personal responsibility, or originated with, members of the Marion County Commission.
Baseless accusations of misdeeds, improper collusive behavior, or other ethically questionable and illegal acts, without any support, cast in broad accusations and associations with historical abhorrent behavior such as Nazism, all presented as though proven fact, is counterproductive to effective communication and misleading.
It serves to make the job of governing even more challenging in an already hyper-challenging environment. To do so under the cloak of opinion journalism and presenting as a possessor and protector of the enlightened with weak references to history and literature serves only to make the author appear arrogant and irresponsible.
Again, we welcome journalistic integrity and reporting that is both fair and unbiased. We do not object to opinions of all kinds which can be expressed in print journalism as an editorial. We object to turning the tool into a weapon of false and libelous commentary for its lack of ethics and responsibility.
Jonah Gehring, chairman
Last modified Dec. 16, 2020