Mt. Vernon Register-News


April 9, 2013

Have you ever been schooled?


Hang on! Here comes the schooling. The original request was to change the statute of one representative for each 5,000 municipality to one representative for each 7,000 in population, which would give Mt. Vernon an additional representative. Nothing more intended! Somehow, this was changed to 7,500, which would have excluded Benton when presented to state representatives.

There was never any thought or any intention to exclude anyone presently represented; only to gain equal and fair representation for Mt. Vernon.

Somehow, another issue was added to the request — the right to remove a board member for "no cause." I want to repeat that "for no cause." I do not believe that anyone in any job or appointed position should be able to be removed "for no cause." That process reeks of political cronyism to me. The act states that a trustee may be removed for incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance and at the end of their appointed term if not re-appointed. I also think that re-appointment should be based on performance and not opinion. I just find "no cause" to be abhorrent and unfair.

I am going back to the being schooled; how can a simple straight-forward request to add one additional member for Mt. Vernon based on population, water sales, taxes, etc., that our mayor understood and supported could turn into excluding Benton and removing board members for no cause shows me just how ignorant and naive I am.

If this is the way politics work, I shake my head in wonder. I still believe that Mt. Vernon deserves equal representation and that it is a matter of fairness.

I view the board as a responsible agent of the people they represent. They should work with management to make the best decisions for their customers. I learned the hard way to be very leery of having everyone agree with you. My work colleagues and I had a name for this — it was called "the yeah boss syndrome." The fastest way to lose your job in the management arena I played in was to have everyone agreeing with you and saying yes to all your ideas.

I believe that this principle applies even more so to government. There is nothing illegal or immoral about dissenting views. The relationship needed for success is open, confronting and trusting. Open transparency without hidden agendas is a must; you never get the best solutions without confrontation and you cannot have positive confrontation without absolute trust among members of the group.

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