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Sun, Jan. 24

Community View | Supervisors could use a semester at leadership school

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is considering a resolution declaring the county a “Constitutional Sanctuary County” to counter “unconstitutional” COVID-19 executive orders from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, as well as state-imposed lockdowns and potential federal mask mandates.

Seriously? We're hitting a peak in both infections and death rates and our supervisors are discussing ways to implement personal political agendas? Is that all you've got in terms of crisis leadership?

Indulge me for a moment of history.

Many years ago when I was in the military, Vietnam was winding down and, as you may have heard, things didn't go all that well there. Failures were examined, procedures were rewritten and one of the many “corrections” was a decision to send the latest crop of soon-to-be NCOs to “sergeant's school.” We were told it was because of a problem in poor leadership skills from newly anointed NCOs and the consequences of that flawed leadership. Bad decisions and poor leadership cost lives and imperiled the mission, so our school was there to help us avoid those mistakes in the future. It turned out to be one of my most valuable experiences in the service and one that others could have learned from.

We were taught that good leaders need to adapt to the problems at hand to get the mission accomplished and to get your people through tough situations as intact as possible. Making decisions that benefited the mission and the group was stressed. It was understood that flexibility was vital to success and survival. They pushed the idea of having a learning curve. We were taught that the courage to make good decisions in bad situations was the mark of true leadership.

Make no mistake, the COVID pandemic is a battle and there will be casualties. But with good leadership, it is possible to minimize our losses and maintain the strength and survival of the community. But somehow our leaders are considering an agenda from a fringe minority that would inflict incoherent policies and personal agendas on all of its citizens instead of using common sense. With a ”Sanctuary County” ruling, we would be marching into a battle with the odds against us.

The fact that we are witnessing “leaders” who have been entrusted to serve and protect their constituents even considering bizarre agendas like making Mohave County a “Sanctuary County” is like a dark comedy; a comedy that will have a very unhappy ending. Let's be realistic and put aside misguided dogma and political agendas in this battle, because science and technology do work and can help us get through this.

The attempts by a vocal minority to coerce our leaders to resist any coordinated efforts to win this battle are at best, counterproductive to the community and at worst, a fatal act of negligence. It is completely unacceptable. In the long term, it is also potentially criminal. I assure you that if this “Sanctuary County” farce is passed, history will not judge you kindly.

(John Van Vliet is a resident of Kingman.)

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