Now that former County Commissioner Rose Pugliese has taken herself out of the running for the county attorney job, the board of commissioners can begin healing from a self-inflicted wound and focus on a controversy-free future.

Hopefully, some lessons were learned. Commissioners may feel they took a defensible course of action in naming Pugliese as the sole finalist, but a vocal segment of the public saw otherwise. One takeaway is that optics are paramount. Overcoming bad optics — the kinds of things that erode faith in government — requires proactive transparency that carefully accounts for how commissioners arrived at a decision.

The fallout of Pugliese’s consideration for the job speaks for itself.

For her part, Pugliese demonstrated some wisdom and self-awareness in stepping away from the opportunity to become one of the highest paid employees in the county.

“Upon much deliberation and prayer, I realized that at this point in my life, my passion lies in my political work, and I am not ready yet to put that work aside,” she wrote in her letter of withdrawal. “The county attorney needs to possess political savvy without being political. Therefore, I withdraw my name from consideration.”

Pugliese has saved the commissioners from an enormous headache in which even routine legal decisions would be viewed as politically motivated. Reopening the job search to a third round of applicants gives them the chance to reassert a commitment to open government.