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  • Writer's pictureTroy Riggs

Governments must engage the community to be successful!

Local government (elected, appointed, and career public servants) oversees important functions that affect all our lives. Some of the most critical departments include the following: Health, Zoning, Police, Fire, Water, Emergency Operations, Roadways, etc.

To successfully fulfill these vast responsibilities, it is imperative for public servants to engage the communities they serve. Yes, this can sometimes prove too difficult and uncomfortable. It is, however, a public servant's ethical responsibility to listen and respond to the residents of their community.

Far too often, government leaders make decisions without clearly understanding the issues the community is confronting. Issues are quickly assumed, and solutions are determined without working collaboratively with those the government serves.

Government leaders must make a conscious decision to lead by listening to the public, empathizing with their needs, and working collaboratively to determine an appropriate response to an issue. Meanwhile, community members have an obligation to participate, treat public servants respectfully, and be willing to learn and share ideas for the issues confronting the community. When this is done, the chances of having a positive outcome or resolution increase exponentially.

So, why don’t more government leaders contact the community for assistance? There is a myriad of reasons. Some reasons, quite frankly, are due to the apathy of government leadership and a subsequent lack of a vision for the community. Additionally, others lack the temperament to engage and actively listen and consider solutions.

Citizens must also remember their civic duty to become involved and hold government employees accountable for their actions and conduct.

"Citizens should never abdicate their civic responsibilities

to government administrators."

There are many difficult issues confronting local and state governments. The path forward is clearer and easier when everyone can share and be a part of crafting solutions to today’s most daunting issues.

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