Are these just isolated incidents? Not a chance! I believe they speak to an absence of leadership in the governor’s office. We need leadership that admits mistakes and corrects them rather than passing them on to others. We need an ethical leader who has the public’s best interest at heart. We need something we don’t have now. We need a leader who will protect the citizens of Utah!
At its core, the troubles at UDOT and the Department of Health are not so much agency problems as they are about leadership. I served in the Army for 39 years and worked with the best leaders in the world. A good leader guarantees neutral, not political, administration of government. A good leader admits mistakes; corrects them and does not blame others.
Good leaders are essential in order to restore our trust in Utah’s state government. Unfortunately, because of the fiasco both at UDOT and the state’s medical records and recent events people are suffering and more will suffer. Who knows how much time, effort and money will be lost to the citizens of Utah because of this huge identity theft? Who can feel safe (as a UDOT employee) if someone can pressure you to do things that you don’t feel right about doing? How can there be no accountability for any of this? Utahans have earned a responsible, honest government at every level of government. It is, indeed, their right. And, I support their right.
What exactly is the problem?
First, Governor Herbert has created a politicized environment. When agency heads worry about the governor’s re-election, they are not focused on doing the people’s business. But, the problem is not with the agency heads, it is with a poisoned atmosphere of calculated political movements. Such an environment is created from the top down.
Secondly, Governor Herbert has allowed unprincipled lapses to go uncorrected. His actions set the tone for our state’s Agency Heads and communicates that there may be a cost for not supporting the governor politically. Utah citizens should understand that there has already been and will continue to be a high cost for not adhering to the highest ethical standards.
Thirdly, Governor Herbert has failed to step up and take responsibility for his own administration’s problems. The data breach should have led the governor to admit that his own administration had made a mistake. Instead, the governor was silent on this breech of privacy issue until I spoke of it.
The reason I’m running for governor is because there is a vacuum of leadership in this state. The problems of state government require more than a caretaker administration. Utah citizens have earned the right to ethical, competent leadership to restore the people’ s trust; impose the highest ethical standards for public servants; and stop the politicization. Utahans deserve better.
Peter Cooke is a retired Major General in the US Army; former Director of Economic Development for the State of Utah; a small business owner and the Democratic Candidate for Governor in the State of Utah.