I'm not sure if I want to cry or scream. But, I guess I'll do neither and will just write these feelings down. I just left commission meeting where Commissioner Gary Kofford called for Commissioner Drew Sitterud's resignation. He said nobody is mentioning what happened with Commissioner Sitterud and trying to sweep it all under the rug. He accused the newspapers of trying to make it look like Commissioner Sitterud didn't do anything wrong and trying to make it look like he was exonerated from all charges.
Well, of course I had to take exception to that remark. I have reported factually and truthfully the actions taken against Commissioner Sitterud.
I reported when he was put on administrative leave in big, bold letters. When he went to his initial appearance then I reported what went on at that time. I fully described in the paper, each of the three counts of felony charges that were brought against him.
On Sept. 2 at his preliminary hearing, a plea bargain had been struck. I reported all the terms and conditions of the plea bargain and what went on in court that day including Judge Thomas' statements as well as statements by Drew's lawyer, Sonny Olsen.
When this article came out, there was also a paid ad by Commissioner Sitterud where he put his two cents worth in about what he had done and his views on the matter. This is all perfectly correct procedure. If you have something you really want to say and it doesn't qualify as a letter to the editor you can buy an ad and get your opinions out there. Most items of a political nature go best in a paid ad.
I think I have treated Commissioner Sitterud very fairly. His name went in the court report along with all the other defendants that appear in the 7th District Court in Castle Dale. I didn't give him any preferential treatment. His charges were laid out just the same as the next guy.
I think I have kept the citizens of Emery County well informed on what was going on with their Commissioner. I think that is my job. The papers were criticized for not sensationalizing the situation more. What? You want more sensationalism from a newspaper; then call the National Enquirer. That's not my job. I think it is my job to report the facts. It is not my job to persecute or prosecute someone through the pages of a newspaper. That is the job of the court. Commissioner Sitterud has had his day in court. He will appear again on Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m. for his sentencing. I will be there on that day also to hear the results of the presentencing investigation and Judge Thomas' sentencing judgment upon Commissioner Sitterud and I will report on what goes on in court that day.
There have been people who shall remain nameless who have tried to tell me what to do throughout this whole ordeal. But, I do not succumb to peer pressure. I never have. I wrote the articles concerning Commissioner Sitterud with the facts and with fairness. I will not persecute him. On a personal note, I am not happy with what he did. I am disappointed in him. But, I never let these disappointments carry over into my reporting of the facts and events surrounding his being brought up on charges of misuse of public money.
Ultimately it will be up to the voters in November to decide if they believe Commissioner Sitterud should be voted out of office or if they re-elect him. It doesn't have anything to do with me or the newspaper; it's all about our freedom to elect government officials to lead us or not.