My Turn

Opinion: Déjà vu – otra vez all over again

By Gloria Maestas, Pam Fernandez and Jean Nichols 
Posted 1/18/19

It is painfully obvious that the men on the Taos County Commission have learned nothing since their last attempt at denying Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell (our only New Mexico State University …

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My Turn

Opinion: Déjà vu – otra vez all over again

Posted

It is painfully obvious that the men on the Taos County Commission have learned nothing since their last attempt at denying Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell (our only New Mexico State University EDGE-certified commissioner) her rightful place in the queue for leadership. Do they really think their clumsy rotation scheme would go unnoticed by anyone with the least concern for gender equality, fairness or at the very least public perception?

Particularly galling is the implication/excuse that Commissioner O’Donnell had stepped out of her “boundaries” on some occasions. Has that never, ever happened before? It is easy to stay “in your boundaries” if you don’t do anything beyond the bare minimum, care more about appearances than accomplishments or are not a woman. If you are fully engaged, grounded in principled decision-making and responsive to your constituents, you will invariably find yourself in uncharted territory. Maybe a few more of the commissioners need to get EDGE certified and take some risks to make our county commission more progressive, inclusive, accessible and respectful of the 2018 Census that documented 51.07 percent of the Taos County population as female. How about starting with this action – toss your thinly disguised sexist idea of rotation, seat Commissioner O’Donnell as vice-chair and then support her as you would want to be supported or at least as much as you would support a male member of the commission?

Forget any notion that undermining her during her tenure will go unnoticed. Verbal “put-downs” disguised as asides and disparaging side glances that have been seen during past sessions are not acceptable and reflect poorly not only on the perpetrator but also the members who give their tacit approval by remaining quiet. The only reason the rotation scheme was concocted was to shortchange a woman commissioner. This would have never even have been contemplated if the commission were all male.

Gloria Maestas lives in Rodarte; Pam Fernandez is from Peñasco; Jean Nichols lives in Llano de San Juan Nepomuceno

Editor’s note:  NM EDGE (Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector) is a service of New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. It is “a program designed to provide a comprehensive course of study to administrators, managers, elected officials and staff in local, state, tribal and national government, through which participants can acquire and apply the best practices and theory to their management behaviors and strategies using the highest professional standards,” according to the university’s website.

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