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Show up or leave SLOC

Staging the 2002 Winter Olympic Games is serious business. As such, Salt Lake Organizing Committee trustees who either won't or can't attend at least 75 percent of their meetings should step down.

There are plenty of able people willing to take their place.Absent trustees not only miss critical votes and information exchanges but may also prevent those present from doing their jobs.

If only one or two trustees of the 31-member board (it will be 33 as soon as two vacancies are filled) occasionally missed a meeting that would be acceptable, but in some instances so many miss meetings that even a simple majority of trustees isn't present and votes have to be postponed. That clearly is unacceptable.

Several trustees have attended fewer than half of the meetings since Salt Lake City was awarded the Games in 1995. Several others are attending slightly more than 50 percent. That's abysmal. Those people either need to recommit themselves or leave the board. Otherwise they're more a detriment than a help.

After a summer of turmoil that saw Frank Joklik replace Tom Welch as president and chief executive officer of the Organizing Committee and Bob Garff replace Joklik as chairman, it's imperative that organizers move boldly and with purpose as they prepare for the Games. That requires input and commitment from the full board, not just half or two-thirds of the current membership.

While it's still four-plus years before the Winter Games come to Salt Lake City, it's not too early to make critical decisions to ensure the Games are staged in a first-class manner. In fact, critical decisions were being made shortly after the announcement in 1995 in Budapest that Salt Lake was getting the Winter Olympics.

Venue contracts and other key operational contracts are being negotiated now. Actions that will affect many people and cost millions of dollars to carry out are taking place now. SLOC is in charge of a $1 billion budget. It's involved in an ongoing process of putting the pieces in place in the most cost-effective manner possible.

That will continue for the next several years. With the reputation of the Olympics and the state at stake, it is mandatory that the body making those decisions - SLOC - be represented by all its members.