In Honor of Mayor Kaumo
After serving the City of Rock Springs passionately and faithfully for 12 very productive years, at great personal cost to himself, his family, and business, some have sought to destroy the reputation of former Rock Springs Mayor, Tim Kaumo. They brought multiple charges against him regarding the proposal and bidding process for the Bitter Creek Reclamation Project, on which Mayor Kaumo had worked for years.
After years of legal battles, a plea-agreement was reached. All charges were dropped, except two misdemeanors, to which former Mayor Kaumo continued to disagree. But, to put an end to the seemingly endless costs of defense, former Mayor Kaumo did agree to plead guilty to the two misdemeanor charges. Judge Greer then combined the penalty for those two remaining misdemeanor charges into one. They were the result of Mayor Kaumo hotly defending himself, city employees, and employees of JFC Engineering, as disagreements arose about the Bitter Creek proposal process.
As Judge Greer passed judgement, while accepting the plea agreement, he stated that he felt Mayor Kaumo had interjected himself into the proposal process with remarks he had made. During that proposal process, Mayor Kaumo had already recused himself from voting for his company, and JFC was denied the project. Yes, you read that right - the project in question was not awarded to JFC. The judgement, and court issued penalty were accepted by all involved.
Mayor Kaumo spent years planning and lobbying to secure DEQ funds to clean up Bitter Creek, providing better flood protection, while improving the area. After his first two terms, during the time he was not the Mayor, the project was dropped, and the grant lost.
During his third term, the project was revived and is now in the hands of others. Those hands include those who sought to destroy Mayor Kaumo for being passionate about changing a blighted, polluted eyesore running through the city, into a cleaned up recreational area, designed to provide better flood protection.
To those who sought to destroy Mayor Kaumo - it is time to put up or shut up. We hope you do both.
How many projects should JFC Engineering have been required to sacrifice because their President earned a small salary for his countless hours of service as Mayor? Obviously other companies should not be excluded from city projects, nor JFC given preference.
But if JFC presents a far more extensive proposal, with costs appropriate to the project, should they automatically be denied, and all of their research and planning be given to others, along with the awarding of the project? That is exactly what did happen.
Before branding Mayor Kaumo as disgraced, with the hot iron of self-righteousness held by bloviating political representatives who propose laws that would place penalties up to 5 years in prison for remarks made while in office, we might ask - would 100% of their comments and/or emails stand the same scrutiny? Would yours?
Instead, I would recommend looking at his service to the community he loves in it’s entirety. Next time you flush your toilet in Rock Springs, you may want to thank Mayor Kaumo for upgrading the sewer system infrastructure, instead of choosing other more politically advantageous projects.
Then, as you watch your poop swirling towards that expanded wastewater treatment plant, you might also pay proper homage to the turds who sought to destroy one of the most productive Mayors in Rock Springs history.
How should we judge and label the leaders we have elected? Should it be by the work they accomplished and their intent to do good, or by their imperfections? The hypocritical lenses, through which we judge the imperfections of others, would be far more clear if those lenses also functioned as mirrors showing our own short-comings. Beware of those who pompously require perfection in others at levels they could not possibly achieve in themselves.
What should be the cost of service? What level of perfection should we demand of our leaders? Should our leaders be chosen in beauty contests or work contests? How do we stop the contention and back stabbing that destroys those who serve, even with their imperfections, as they plow forward accomplishing much for the greater good. I sincerely hope we find the answers before no one shows up for the job, dressed in their work boots and gloves.
Bill Shaffer, South Jordan, Utah