OFFICIALS: IF YOU THINK THIS COLUMN IS ABOUT YOU…IT IS

posted by Bill Mick - 

It played out last week in the newspaper, in social media and on air. It’s ugly. It’s stupid. And it needs to stop.

We had a natural disaster: Hurricane Irma. I’m pretty sure we all remember it. Recognize that these storms bring unique conditions to the Space Coast. Since our governments have decided to be in the utility business, they bear the burden of handing the issues with those utilities. This includes outages, service interruptions and even dumping waste into the lagoon.

And, with funding to these government entities dependent upon other “higher” levels of government with varying responsibilities, everyone believes they have a say in how these issues are managed or even in how other funding is spent by other elected officials. Disagreements are bound to occur. Tensions can and do rise. We are human and it happens.

But, when you elected types are on the same side, have the same party designation on your voter information cards and have a disagreement, take a moment and stop before you write or talk to that reporter or post on social media about this other official who can be your ally in most circumstances. And if you are NOT in the same elected body, there is no prohibition to talking with each other. So let’s try that route in hopes of finding something different that has a chance to actually produce agreement and results.

If you are a rookie in the political world, let’s say less than 5 years in your current elected office or related government service, then stop and learn something before you declare that your answer is the only one and that some other official is somehow less than competent. It’s unbecoming and it makes people defensive and unwilling to work with you.

Posturing in the media or on social media is not solution seeking, it’s grandstanding and saying look at me. It is far from being productive to anything other than your own ego.

And while we are at it, if you are an experienced elected official the purpose of your meetings is to conduct the business of your position, not use the forum for trashing each other and campaigning for another member of your body to be replaced. It’s very transparent, is not as smart as you believe it is and it makes you look bad. Again, no solution seeking here, just look at me and see how bad that other official is! Campaign all you want outside the meetings, but when you are working, try doing the job we elected you to do.

In each of these cases you violate the principles you claimed to hold when the voters put you in office. You were going to work for them, remember? Going after each other in meetings or public forums is nothing other than self serving rhetoric and it makes you look bad.

If there are no prohibitions to you speaking with that other official, pick up the phone, set a meeting and sit down and talk. You’ll get far better results and you won’t look like an idiot to those of us who cast ballots come election day.

The media/social media circus has to stop and that is completely within your control.

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