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Responsibility
2017-11-15

            The election is over and to those who now claim office, and those who remain, comes a time to reflect on the responsibilities you have accepted.

            No matter what elected position you hold, those responsibilities are not limited to yourself and those who elected you.  They include a major responsibility to the people of the entire community, whether they voted for you or not.

            The main responsibility you now have is to govern those who you represent.  Turning over your responsibilities to your solicitor is a grave mistake.  Yes, the solicitor represents the governing body, not the people.  And, to the credit of the legal counsel and their duty to protect you, they will sometimes lead you behind closed doors into an executive session to keep you from making a fool of yourself in a public meeting.

            That's not a legal reason for meeting in private.  You the newly elected, and those who remain, must learn the duties and responsibilities of your position – hopefully, before you take office.  That's a major part of the job.  Anyone can sit at the table in front of the people.  But, real leaders will learn what they're obligated and expected to do, what people expect from them, and act accordingly.

            One-issue campaigns will fade quickly and become multiple issues and give you lots and lots of homework.  Issues that can save taxpayers money or cost them more. Issues that can provide better services in a cost-effective manner. Issues that can bring the community together or tear it further apart.  Leftover issues that have now become your responsibility and dealing with them in a way that helps, not hurts.

            Threats mean nothing to the informed. Sound governing, management and results do.

            You can't come to a meeting once or twice a month and expect to be up-to-date on things you should be keenly aware of before you take your seat.  Employees and managers are not the elected officials who have taken on the responsibility to govern.  You are.

            Govern wisely and remember that whenever you are legally bound to do so, do the business of the people in front of the people – not behind closed doors.

            In addition to not breaking the law, you will be growing a trust that will endure as long as the open exchange of information and ideas exists. 

            Trust goes both ways and civility is usually the first casualty of distrust.  You can't expect the people to trust you if you don't trust them.  If you don't give the people information in a timely manner, they will get it somewhere else.  Wouldn't you prefer that it came directly from the governing body instead of whispers based on fears or suspicions?

            Congratulations, good luck and good intentions will fade quickly if you don't take your responsibilities – to all of the people – seriously and openly.


 

 

 

 

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