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Officials' qualifications, or lack of

Posted Sunday, June 29, 2008, at 6:12 PM

A reader comment last week touching on how educated county commissioners should be brings out a few thoughts.

Should there be minimal education/work experience requirements for such positions as county commissioners or city council members, or any other governing board? And what about requirements for elected full-time county jobs?

I've always thought common sense rather than "book learning" should be the main criteria. Anyone, not just the elite, should be able to seek, and hold, office. In a perfect world, anyone who proved unable to hold a position would either be ignored by voters to begin with or voted out in the next election.

The last thing we need is governing bodies populated by only the "elite." Everyone needs a voice -- and when the elite run things, the "lower classes" are too often ignored, or even censured (or fired from jobs) if they speak out.

But what about those elected officials who run county offices full-time? Should those persons have backgrounds in work directly related to their offices? Should they be college graduates?

Over the years some have done great jobs and the voters let some know they were dissatisfied, whether those failures to win re-election were deserved or not.

Just be glad that voters, in so many cases, have the final choice.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The way I look at it is this way....I feel that you do not always have to have book smarts....But have a good heart and care about us little people and really want to be there for us all...It does not take book smarts to have that....Going to college does not always mean that you know more than Bob...Mary Sue next door...You have to care about the people and know what it feels like to not always have everything handed to you...To know what it means to work for a living and raise a family...They need to be able to listen to us all no matter how rich or poor you are or what color your skin is or if you drive a truck or a SUV...they need to listen to everyone and mean what they say when they want to help support what you are talking about...Not go behind close doors and laugh at us and not mean what they said...No they do not have to go to college or have book smarts...they just need to walk in our shoes sometimes and see what we are worried about and what we want...

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 7:28 AM

I have a question to ask anyone...What is the Uptown City Fair that is going to be on the Square on July 12th ???? Is this something New ???

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 7:50 AM

What about the voters who keep bad politicians in office. Are they smart, dumb, lazy, don't care, or..... what?

We might make the mistake the first time , but why are they voted back, or is it because we can not find anyone better?

What makes someone want to run for office?

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 7:54 AM

Steve, I don't know why voters keep the bad officials in office, but I do agree with rebelrose's first comment. I think the official should be willing to make a stand for everyone, not just the elite. And I think that people build themselves up on empty promises just to win the election. Then they never fulfill those promises. And they use the "little people" to get the vote because they know a lot of them go on high hopes. It's not right. But you know the old saying-"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Maybe one day, the voters in question will learn! Rebelrose, I don't know what the Uptown City Fair is either, but thanks for asking! I'm interested in seeing the response as I am curious about it now too!!

-- Posted by candasons07 on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 8:56 AM

I dont think we should begin to regulate who can run for public office by education. Because like everything else by time it was over, only millionaires with Phds would be able to run. Just because someone is uneducated doesnt necessarly mean they are stupid or incompetent.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 10:06 AM

rebelrose & candason07,

Refer to a t-g article titled "Rhodes' country critters to visit City Fair" by Mary Reeves dated June 30, 2008.

It is promoted by Main Street Shelbyville and sponsored by Regions Bank. It will be held on the square on July 12 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Hope this article and information helps.

-- Posted by amalphia on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 10:08 AM

I am with pretty much everyone on this issue, the person should represent the population that resides within the place he/she is running, even if he/she doesn't agree with them. The decisions should be what the population as a whole wants, but he/she must have the ability to translate the entire breadth of what the consequences of the decision could and will entail.

In summary, the person running needs to communicate the issues of the day and let the public be aware of possible changes before they become a problem. Yes, sometimes that is very hard to do, but it seems that happen alot more than it should. What is the solution? I have a few but they will probably make too much sense for them to even listen.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 11:02 AM

Just because one has a degree does not mean they are competent. A good example is the nitwit city manager. But he is so far above most of the city council, they think he is brilliant.

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 3:30 PM

David

I know this is not following in line of your Blog

But How is Bo doing? I haven't seen him blog in a while and was concerned about him.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 11:37 AM

I think that a college degree is not a prerequisite to becoming an elected official. However, I do feel that open mindedness, objectivity, the ability to communicate and the willingness to research and learn all of the particulars concerning various issues are indeed necessary. Unfortunately, we have to many elected officials in the city and county governments who reflect none of these characteristics, and it reflects poorly on our community.

Some of the city council members and county commissioners have narrow and unwavering views on how each entity is to be operated. This works to the detriment of the community in that issues are dynamic and require periodic review and analysis to establish new solutions. It's sad that some of these politicians just don't get it.

-- Posted by volfanatic on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 1:58 PM

Whoops! The last sentence of the first paragraph of my previous post should read "too many elected officials" instead of "to many elected officials".

-- Posted by volfanatic on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 2:01 PM

The way it looks, you would only need a couple of smart people to be a commissioner or city council members, since most of the others just vote the way that a couple tells them.

There is no way that so many would vote the same way together everytime. How many husbands and wives agree on everything all the time???

-- Posted by Lower Taxes Please on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 6:24 PM

David,

There are certain agencies here that simply will not allow employees to stand up and voice their opinion without the fear of being fired, even if they know what they are doing is incorrect or see the money being wasted in that agency. Have you ever heard of the old saying "Don't cross the boss"?

Let's not exclude department heads from this. I mean, even though they have been with an agency since it started, does defiantly not make the qualified. There's a Director of an important agency, that has neither a High School diploma nor a GED. That same Director can't even do simple 1st grade math. Example: two employees want to swap shift just to help one another out, as it had always been. The Director in question puts out a FYI to the employees basically stating, there will be no more shift swapping because it defeats the purpose of keeping the shift doubled up. Well the last time I checked, if 1 employee goes from shift 2 to shift 3, and 1 employee goes from shift 3 to shift 2 all on the same day, you still have the same number of people on shift. I believe that's what the term SWAP means.

Then you have a dispatcher send an ambulance to a medical call. This dispatcher said that the patient was an "8 month old pregnant lady there". Hummmm, now how the heck is that possible?? Oh wait!! I know!! That same Director and Dispatcher are none other than this countys finest mother daughter team. GO FIGURE!!

-- Posted by scannermanner on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 6:02 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.