"Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith."
-- Ronald Reagan
I've mentioned before how governments that govern best are those closest to the people. While the governing bodies of cities and states are elected by the people, various differences often emerge between them.
My bias toward municipal government is natural and expressed in knowing that they are the most responsive and efficient in their operations as well as the most attuned to the needs and desires of residents. Maneuvering through the political maze that exists in city government creates a challenge to the majority of Utah municipal elected officials whose service is in addition to their career employment.
They are respected people who seek to improve a community's quality of life by placing their name on a ballot with the realization that their chosen profession will leave them lacking full knowledge of the governmental process.
With a passion to make a difference, these individuals willingly volunteer to assume responsibility and improve their understanding of bureaucratic leadership while at the same time exposing themselves and their families to possible ridicule for decisions they make that affect the lives of those they serve.
The elected foundation of a Utah city comprises nonpartisan officials who simply serve the people without the influence of a political party.
They are your neighbors, your friends and associates who face real-life problems that are the same as those faced by the people they represent.
They are imperfect people striving to perfect a lifestyle for the constituents who voted for them.
The management of a municipality should encompass the most important issues facing that body of people and the personal satisfaction with the cultural or intellectual conditions enjoyed in its neighborhoods.
While cities are political bodies of the state, they are independently governed by local elected officials and should be given broad discretion to address the needs of the community. The allocation of local resources must be the decision of the local governing body, not state or federal officials. In essence, city management needs the flexibility to adjust to the changing conditions in their communities
Relevancy to municipal economic issues in particular needs this diplomacy.
Local elected officials are the most intertwined in the lives of those they serve. They are representatives of their co-workers, their neighbors and friends, those with whom they worship and frequent the same restaurants. They are immediately and personally accessible.
It has become increasingly evident that proactive thinking concerning the needs of those who reside in a community must be at the forefront for these public servants.
Grass-roots responsibility positions a city to make the most of trends.
Steve Curtis has worked as a business consultant and communication specialist. He is currently mayor of Layton. He can be reached at email@example.com.