Remember the Golden Rule?

But such an action means that taxpayer money would fund strategic fighting amongst neighbors, rather than compassion, cooperation and generosity that one would expect in a small rural town.

The discord and stress from these and other incidents prompted Pitkin's resignation, he said Monday.

So Lawrence "Red" Pitkin, known for providing thoughtful, objective insight into crucial issues at the county level - and saving area taxpayers a lot of money - is stepping down from public service.

For months, Pitkin has served with distinction. He has been a strong advocate of open, honest government in both in the conduct of town and county business. He's also successfully navigated his way through some contentious issues during his 18 months in office.

Appointed to his post in December 2008, he established a policy of accountability. The town needed it. There was a surplus of more than $800,000 that wasn't accounted for - paid for by taxpayers, contrary to state law. Town officials didn't even know that certain bank accounts even existed.

In town meetings, he's encouraged free expression of public opinion, whether it's gripes, rants, accusations, constructive suggestions for change - or even praise.

He and board member James Ligon have spearheaded an effort to put the finances of the town back on track.

They've taken strides to fully computerize and modernize town record-keeping, while boosting accountability in town government.

He and Ligon have led an effort to bring broadband to town and thus boost local business enterprises as well as residents' connection to the outside world.

They've also sought to improve various governmental procedures and boost the town infrastructure.

Ligon also quit this week, soon after being accused of a bogus conflict of interest because his wife worked on the youth commission board, a position that has no pay.

Ligon is known for dedicating long hours delving into local issues and prudent municipal finance. He'll be missed because he was an honest man with integrity - one who wouldn't bend the truth for political gain.

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