MINERAL COUNTY- In a meeting held by the Mineral County Commissioners Monday, Aug. 4, the board was addressed by county citizen and business owner Bill Philbern who was asking for certain taglines that are included in county emails, websites and Facebook posts to be removed in order to promote neutrality.
Silverthread Public Health Nurse Joni Adelman spoke from her perspective stating that she felt that the tag line should remain for those who wish to follow the link and learn about the use of proper pronouns in relation to the LGBTQ community.
Philburn began the conversation stating, “I am here today to speak to you about whether or not tags should be allowed on any correspondence that comes through the county. I have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and the constitution is the basis for equal truth, liberty and justice for all. I would like to refer to a statement made by Jim Loud, who is in Board of Health meetings, and it is kind of paraphrasing but he said something like, ‘it was the mission of the board to provide public health to everyone without biased.”
As Philburn continued to express his opinion on whether taglines should be allowed, it was explained to the attending audience that the tagline he was referring to has been attached to all Silverthread Public Health emails that have come from four Mineral County public health representatives and was a link to why pronouns matter.
Philburn stated that he felt Mineral County, who is a partner and funder for the Silverthread Public Health District, should suggest that the tagline be removed and that there should be neutrality in everything that the county does as a governmental agency.
By the end of the meeting, the commissioners decided to address the issue by sending a letter of suggestion to the board of health and Silver Thread Public Health Director Tara Hardy who also used the tagline on her emails. The letter is as follows:
“In response to the July 30, 2020 Silverthread Public Health District Board meeting, that we all attended, we, as the Mineral County Board of County Commissioners, are writing this letter to address the use by employees of the Silverthread Public Health District of the Pronouns Matter link in the taglines of their signatures on official Public Health emails.
We understand the use of this tagline and link are attempts to support an underprivileged population and within the policy of inclusiveness that Silverthread Public Health District operates under it seems appropriate. However, conversations we have had with members of our constituency leads us to believe that what is designed to support an underprivileged population is counterproductive in the greater scheme of things. It is producing animosity in those who were formerly ambivalent. It is being viewed as being exclusionary and discriminatory to the larger population that Public Health is mandated to serve.
It is very important to us to know and understand all sides of an issue. We would welcome further discussion of the subject and applaud the Board of Health’s decision to commit their next meeting to addressing the associated policy issues.
We would like to suggest, in the interim, the use of tag lines and especially controversial links, be discontinued by the employees until such a time as the Board of Health and staff can review/create a policy that potentially addresses the issue. Public Health, in our opinion, needs to be neutral, welcoming, and supportive of the broad population and avoid singling out segments of the population to the perceived exclusion of others.”
Commissioners have tabled further discussion on this matter until the Silverthread Public Health Board has had time to review their policies that pertain to the tagline issue. More information on the topic will be reported as it comes available.