Tuesday, March 26, 2019


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Be Prepared

            Tensions are still prevalent on many of our local government bodies.  How can we expect them to do the business of the people in a fair and logical manner when some officials (current and past) have to keep looking over their shoulders to see who's coming to stab them in the back.

            They should be governing in the now and looking forward to the future of the body they serve.

            At some point in time, both sides will learn that shaking hands is better than belching hostility at public meetings and on social media.

            Agreeing to disagree has its advantages.  So does being an active listener and participant in civil discussions.  "What's your point" and "Why should I agree with you" may seem somewhat uncouth when asked, but it is an opportunity for you to present your side of the argument – in a civil way that's easy to understand. 

            Arguments should be verbal, not confrontational and certainly not physical.

            Come to the meetings prepared.  You are responsible to make sure you're prepared. 

            Agendas should be prepared ahead of time and staff members should insure that officials have information to review – before you face the public.

            Somehow, "I don't know" and "I'll have to get back to you on that" don't seem like very responsible answers when questioned about items on the agenda.  Items that you should know about and be prepared to answer at a public meeting.

            Sometimes, not having an answer to every question is just the way it is.  But, give your peers and the public the reason for not having a complete answer.  "I'm waiting for state or county officials to get back to me" or "It's a complex issue and we're still working on the numbers" are among many valid reasons that should be shared.

            Decisions need to be made at public meetings.  A delay in providing information not only hinders the action of the governing body, it could also put the official who can't/won't answer a question in a questionable position with the public. 

            In fact, too many instances of unanswered question can put the whole governing body in a bad light with the public.

            If you're an elected official, decision maker, administrator, or responsible staff member, come to the public meetings prepared.

            If you're taking your seat at the table and looking at the meeting agenda for the first time – well that's too late.  Too late for you, your peers, and the people you were elected to serve.

            Whether you are appointed, hired, or elected, you accepted the responsibility.

            Getting things done in a timely manner is part of that responsibility.

            We know your time is valuable but so is the peoples.

            At least have the courtesy to come to the meeting prepared.            





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