Undoubtedly acting board members have a thankless job. They meet regularly, discuss business that most people don’t think about and receive minimal compensation.
Most members begin with the best of intentions - wanting to improve upon their community – to give back and become active in a place they now call home. Whether home-bred or newcomers to the area, elected officials who serve on boards have agreed to stick their neck out, field questions from the public and make difficult decisions that will undoubtedly be scrutinized by friends, neighbors, and the reliably disgruntled segment of the public.
Although these public servants – whether it be school board members, town councilmen, or county commissioners – deserve our thanks, more often than not they receive a wag of our fingers and a tirade of criticisms, either directly to their face, or more typically secretly behind their backs.
Wide-eyed, filled with ambition and zeal, the job these men and women agreed to take on at the beginning of their tenure often proves more difficult than could have initially been forseen. “You can’t please all of the people all of the time,” must become a memorized verse for the public servant.
That being said, those who sit on boards must always remember who they serve. Board members serve the guy they don’t like, the lady with little income and little standing in the community and the people of no consequence. Board members do not only serve their friends and family and agreeable types – they serve the antagonist, the socially inept and the unfamiliar faces in the crowd.
When the little people are forgotten or ignored in a community of just over 600 people and a county with a population base of 1,200, it demonstrates an elitist attitude that is not symbolic of the true American spirit. History tells us that this nation was born out of a fight for the little guy – that all voices might be heard, appreciated and valued. Money and standing in the community should not be the sole criteria to a man’s voice.
When 100 people take the time to sign a petition, their opinions should not be discarded. To imply that all 100 people are either obtuse or ignorant demonstrates an ill appreciation for the general public served. All public servants would be well advised to sit up and pay attention when a petition bearing the names of the constituents served is presented.
From opposing implementation of full-day kindergarten, to access to Scenic View Road, to putting the new animal ordinance up for a public vote – isn’t it about time the little guy’s voice is heard too?
Note: A petition of of about 50 people was signed by county citizens opposing full-day kindergarten; 200 people signed a petition opposing the gate on Scenic View Road and 100 people signed a petition opposing implementing a new animal ordinance without putting it to a vote before the public. All petitions were presented before the appropriate boards.