The recent Times editorial, 'Even with park vote, trust is still an issue,' (March 10) alerts us to some major challenges regarding the relationship between Tualatin's citizens and the city leadership. But it presents an overstated and misrepresented problem by its inclusion of city staff in the discussion, and we are eager to correct that characterization, as we have done many times before.

Once again, even after the election, misleading rhetoric and erroneous inferences pop up regarding the perception and valuing of city staff. The subject editorial, for example, states, 'So the community better figure this all out. And recognize that these trust and frustration issues are not the perceived fault of city staff and city councilors.'

Who ever suggested any of the controversy, grievances or expressed concerns had anything to do with 'city staff'? Every time any of the opposition arguments managed to insinuate 'city staff' into the debate, supporters of the measure had always endeavored to point out that the 'city staff' and the exemplary manner in which they perform their jobs on behalf of the city and its citizens was, and continues to be, pretty darn good.

Lest there be any doubt, we offer anecdotal evidence from our own personal experience. Over the last year or two, for a variety of reasons, we have needed to call upon one or more city staff and/or managers from the following departments - operations, police, legal services, engineering and building, finance, community development, community services and administration.

For the most part, we had no idea who supported, opposed or was oblivious to Measure 34-186. Nonetheless, to a person, we always felt we got what we needed, and often more, from all of the many good people we dealt with. That has always been our experience with our city's employees, where high-performers are commonplace.

We know full well that we have a topnotch, highly talented and service-driven team taking care of the business of keeping this city humming and serving its citizens.

City 'business' and city 'politics' are two different animals, and we strongly suspect that this observation is as clear to others as it is to us. A healthier attitude going forward is for all points of view to be more considerate of city staff by sparing them from the fray of city politics, at least when we know it really can be avoided.

We also find it puzzling that the tone of the editorial seems to place the accountability for the trust issues squarely on the shoulders of the citizenry, as though for such inopportune problems, citizens suddenly inherit this aspect of the city's leadership responsibilities, conveniently disencumbering our elected leaders from that burden, along with those 'business and community organization leaders' that have heretofore buttressed them.

As to the challenges ahead to mitigate the tenuous relationship between Tualatin's citizens and its elected officials (et al), from here it looks like most of us are working on it.

(Soapboxes are guest opinions from our readers, and anyone is welcome to write one. George and Annie Vigileos live in Tualatin.)

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