We are sorry to see Lt. Gov. Greg Bell leave office.
However, the timing of his resignation and the reasons given concern us.
Monday Bell announced he will vacate his office as soon as Gov. Gary Herbert finds a replacement and the selection is confirmed by the state Senate. The 64-year-old Bell says the $105,000 annual salary plus benefits the lieutenant governor is paid isn't enough for him to retire on, so he needs to return to the private sector.
Public service is not supposed to be a money-making endeavor. That is why it is called public service. When politicians make a commitment to serve in office, that commitment should last the duration of their term.
Bell was named lieutenant governor in 2009 after Herbert became governor when Jon Huntsman resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. Herbert had been lieutenant governor under Huntsman. He then won a special election in 2010 to serve out Huntsman's term and was re-elected in 2012.
Bell has a long and accomplished political resume. He was mayor and a member of the city council in Farmington. He was a state senator and served as assistant majority whip. He knows about the sacrifices that come with public service.
Bell says the recession left him with financial liabilities from his time as a real estate attorney.
"I've just come to a point where I need to do something about that," he told the Associated Press.
If that is the case, then why did Bell re-up for the post when Herbert ran for election last year?
Surely his financial situation hasn't changed that much since then.
Bell said his resignation has nothing to do with an investigation by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings of the lieutenant governor's role in a child custody case.
Utah Department of Human Services executive director Palmer DePaulis accused Bell of interfering with a child abuse investigation. Bell said he ordered an audit of the state's child welfare agency on behalf of a neighbor who complained of government mistreatment.
Rawlings announced last month that Bell had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
As lieutenant governor, Bell oversaw state elections and financial disclosure reports of lobbyists and political candidates. His office is currently investigating allegations that Attorney General John Swallow failed to disclose some business interests on his campaign disclosure forms last year.
Bell's resignation couldn't come at a worse time.
Bell said he doesn't have a job or an offer lined up but would like to find work in public policy or business.
Let's hope a year from now -- the required waiting period -- his new job doesn't involve lobbying state government.