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Sedona loses two more professionals in December who worked diligently to improve the quality of life for the city’s residents.

Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms and Director of Community Services and Arts and Culture Andi Welsh announced their acceptance of jobs in other Arizona communities earlier in November with plans to be gone by the end of the year.

When I arrived in Sedona five years ago, Welsh worked as the assistant to the city manager, then Eric Levitt.

Zelms’ arrival quickly followed a few months later.

Both cited personal reasons for their departures — furthering careers, moving closer to family — but that doesn’t dismiss the fact it’s tough to be a professional in Sedona, particularly in the public service sector.

Ask any person, man or woman, who works in any job in the community with even the slightest bit of public attention.

These people will tell you their jobs are a balancing act of the many special interests in Sedona.

Some of our community’s best qualities make it tough on those charged with making the wheels turn.

Passion, which run deeps among residents, is a quality appreciated by many who choose to make Sedona their home.

Passion alone doesn’t create any problems. Passion shows people in this community are plugged in and willing to roll up their sleeves to make life better for all.

It’s passion’s evil twin, intolerance, that is responsible for a professional’s afternoon headaches.

Intolerance often rears its ugly head when passion reaches extremes, preventing some people from appreciating other’s opinions.

Passionate people are capable of working for a cause while also understanding everyone may not agree with their position.

Intolerant people freak out when questioned resulting in public outbursts, harassing phone calls and mean letters.

I’m sure both Zelms and Welsh, while they likely wouldn’t talk about it publicly, found themselves on the receiving end of plenty of nasty communication over the years.

Obviously, these types of behaviors are not unique to Sedona, but the volume of the few who cannot agree to disagree drowns out the pleasant sound of passion.

The city will find replacements for Zelms and Welsh, as it and other agencies continue to do as turnover occurs, but maybe this time residents will be a little easier on those working to serve them.

It’s time to work on Sedona’s reputation in the Verde Valley and the state. We don’t want to become known as the place where professionals dread to work because the quest to create utopia brings out the worst in a few of the residents.

During the holidays especially, let’s lay down our swords and come together as a community. Sedona Main Street Program hosts the ideal atmosphere Friday, Dec. 2, as the community Christmas tree comes to life in Uptown.

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