News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Seek out citizens who understand what you're doing
Jul 8, 2012 - George Parks, Director Wyoming Association of Municipalities
We are now well into the election season. Candidates have filed, and campaigns are under way. Because my focus is Wyoming municipal government I want to express my respect and appreciation for every individual seeking to become a city or town council member or mayor.
You are to be commended for your willingness to serve your community and to take the flack you are sure to receive.
Your accomplishments will be good for your community and will bring great satisfaction, but it will not be easy.
At the recent Wyoming Association of Municipalities convention, Dr. Scott Payne cautioned that in today's world there is not much public trust for anyone, municipal officials included.
Regrettably, today's good neighbor who runs for office, immediately after being elected will be treated and portrayed by many as a self-serving manipulator who can't be trusted.
Dr. Payne offers his belief that mayors and council members who truly act as public servants can earn an improved measure of public trust. It requires humility, determination, hard work, candor, and never-ending communication.
Even after all that effort, there will still be many who are not convinced.
Some of the critics simply don't have a good understanding of how local government has to work. They just don't have the knowledge. For others -- those inclined to be negative and disapproving -- trust may never come.
Fortunately there are some in every community who really understand the difficulty of the issues and appreciate the role of an elected official.
They may not agree with all your decisions, but they can have confidence in your integrity and good intentions. They are an invaluable source of support and a key to your survival and success. I hope you find them.