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Credit for time served

Written by Richard “Sarge” Garwood on .

It seems there’s no end to the problems of government in Port Allen.

From the dishonor of a mayor and police chief engaging in felonious acts and displaying a horrible understanding of personal ethics and integrity to the “new mayor” hiring her brother-in-law after terminating the Chief Financial Officer of the city; Port Allen just can’t seem to get a break.

Port Allen’s a small, but quickly expanding city exhibiting a growing footprint edging its way toward greater land mass assimilation to the west. That means more responsibility concerning governance over citizens already living within those assimilated areas. The population increases and extends its tax base to cover the new assimilations.

This is how government grows in some cases. But, people must recognize though they can build a bloc of votes and sweep a particular candidate into office, it doesn’t guarantee the candidate will excel in office.

Politics doesn’t require competence. It merely needs willing participants. And the quality of that participation decides the quality of the incumbent’s administration. Before the election there are promises made. There are postures assumed. The hyperbolic rhetoric soars. There’s the construct of a voter bloc helping to assure there’ll be a positive and hopefully expressive response at the polls. This is how elections are won.

You organize. You control that organization. You expand your base and expound your ideology before those people you want to direct the surge in political tide puts you in office. But, just because you’re chapped at an incumbent and feel you can do better doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. Politicking is one thing. Competence is another not guaranteed simply by participation and a fire in the belly to change things.

The past, sequestered in Federal Prisons, should be a warning to those entering the political world. The residence of the convicted states clearly and succinctly there are things you shouldn’t do or you’re going to attract attention to your actions in the same manner as your predecessors.

Just because you gain a title by holding an elected position appearing to denote power, it doesn’t mean you personally can do no wrong. It means you have the greatest responsibility to do that which is right over that which is expedient or what serves YOU best. You’re there for the people and not for your relations, your personal goals and aspiration and certainly not for the betterment of your accounts receivable.

Being the people’s representative is a trust; near sacred faith delivered placed before the throne by the people. They expect you to have integrity, a sense of honor and an understanding of what it means to serve humbly and for the good of all; not the profit of a few.

If there is anybody who recognizes himself or herself in this column, they should try moving toward the light of what’s right and distance themselves from the shadows of personal greed, self-aggrandizement and self-service in the guise of governance. Politics is the “HOW” we get the chance to execute the practice of public service. Politics can be deceptive and misleading in how we approach issues in a campaign. There’s always a campaign afoot after being elected to be addressed: from the road overlays, to the sewage contracts and garbage removal ad infinitum; somebody’s always campaigning to get something done. And they look to the public servant elected to get the job done.

But, every elected official MUST note: it’s a double-edged sword you wield. For every voice agreeing with you, there’ll be another in disagreement. For every glad-hand you shake there’ll be an insincere one to test your strength. For everything you try to get done positively, it will be noted others want to stop you because it affects them negatively.

If you haven’t got the integrity and the honesty to overcome those in your bloc telling you to “go ahead, everybody else does it!” please remember where everybody else before you now gets “three hots and a cot” daily and credit for time served.

Is it worth it to play the political games you’re already playing when you haven’t yet proven your competence at the job you were elected to?

Thanks for listening

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