Bravery is required in everyday life. There’s only so much one can control, even with preparation. Surprise news or experiences can change one’s outlook on an event anticipated to go differently. An errant and broken baseball bat flies into the stands at a ballfield and a spectator who loves the game is injured. A subway commuter who never had to worry about getting to work on time now has to wonder if public transportation is the best way to travel.
So it is with town government news. Bravery is required to run for elected office. Putting oneself in the public eye is a sure way to know, by vote tally, how many of one’s fellow residents and neighbors support, trust and believe in a specific candidate to elect him or her to an office where decisions will be made on voters’ behalf.
Bravery is again required when an elected board, once seated with the goal of overseeing a community’s best interests, chooses its leaders.
This should be done in public session and a board member needs to steel him or herself for opposition to a goal to be a chairman or chairwoman, president or vice president. In the purest of local democracy, this happens. Sometimes in some towns and cities, there are publicly discussed bumps and scrapes along the way. It might not be a comfortable spot for a prospective board leader to here why another prospective board leader might be a better choice or fit. Or, why changing the status quo is a good or bad idea.
It’s important to have those discussions in open session and not decided in advance, or, to appear that the discussions may have been held in advance. There is enough raising of the eyebrows when hearing the latest political news at the national level. Let’s keep the level of skepticism at the local level to a minimum.
Lisa D. Connell