Our View: Commissioners were right to be disappointed
July 22, 2021
Imagine having to hire someone for a job and there is a selection of people vying for the position. One would expect everyone seeking the job would be interested in actually having the job, right?
This wasn’t the situation the Sweetwater County Commissioners faced in choosing a candidate for Sweetwater County Treasurer Tuesday. Mike Masterson, one of the three candidates chosen by members of the Sweetwater County Democratic Party, told the Commissioners he wouldn’t accept the role if they chose him. This effectively left the Commissioners with two legitimate options to select from.
We find ourselves agreeing with Commissioner Roy Lloyd and Lauren Schoenfeld when they express disappointment in the process that eliminated a candidate that had followed the initial application process of sending a resume, cover letter and references to the party.
This by no means should be read as the Green River Star not agreeing with Joe Barbuto’s appointment to serve the remainder of Robb Slaughter’s term as Sweetwater County Treasurer. We believe Barbuto has the skills to perform the duties and manage the office. However, it is not a good look for the party when one of the three candidates tells the Commissioners he would be the third-best choice and would not accept the role if chosen.
Yet, the process may have worked as intended by the people who initially drafted those rules into state law. The qualifications for someone to be a county treasurer in Wyoming are to be a resident of the county they’re running in, be of voting age and not have a felony record. By any stretch of the imagination, those requirements are a low bar to clear. The job itself is dictated by state statutes that most people would be able to fulfill.
Masterson said he accepted to give party members a choice between someone who worked for and supported the party and someone who was only registered as a Democrat. Because the replacement system puts the weight of nominating replacements on political parties, members of those parties who are seen as loyal and supportive are more apt to receive support from their peers in the party than someone registered with the party, but is otherwise inactive in its affairs.
This is the party system at work unfortunately and it resulted in the Commissioners not having three eager candidates for the job.