Public’s trust at issue in referendum – Letter to the Editor

Opinion
Serving the Public Trust
People in paid community leadership positions serve the people who pay their salaries. Included in that salary is a pre-ordained obligation to be unambiguous and accommodating when it comes to doing the job. Service to a community in any capacity is a position that also includes elements of earning and maintaining the public trust.
The recent attempts at winning voter approval to erect a new elementary school complex is the responsibility of the elected school board members in concert with the newly ordained school superintendent. In their respective roles, they are public servants. That in turn, implies an obligation to provide, among other things, leadership, open and honest information, and a willingness to conserve and protect resources. They know that, but sometimes a reminder can be in order.
With respect to the new school proposal there is no question that the school board and superintendent believe they are doing things right and has the safety of the staff and pupils in mind; I know that will always be a top priority. Local voters are, however, questioning the appearances of what could be called missing or deceptive information. While it may not be intentional on the part of the board and superintendent, the appearance of not sharing sufficient planning details has created a degree of hesitation on the part of many voters the willingness to blindly approve a new school. Perhaps the board should have considered hiring an experienced planning professional to guide the district through the labyrinth of strategic obstacles. That cost would have been almost nothing when compared to the millions the school district wants, and this period of public angst could have been easily avoided.
We have an intelligent and passionate voting public and a large unselfish force of volunteers in our community. That is something we all should be proud of and never take for granted. And while they may not be the first to step up and compete for seats on various boards, councils and commissions throughout the city, the people of this community still have the right to expect members of those boards, councils and commissions to be actively involved and share relevant information. There are no permanent lifetime positions in community service, and jobs are not guaranteed to anyone regardless of salary and educational qualifications. The school leadership is not exempt from the requirement to serve the community with open and honest communication. Everyone involved should be held to a higher standard and be held accountable.
Michael Killoren
Fort Madison

About Chuck Vandenberg 3287 Articles
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