Attitude adjustment is needed
February 16, 2012 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Not to keep harping on the same broken strings, but what in the world is going on in our local governments these days?
We’re simply aghast at the overt disregard of many public officials for the welfare and concerns of the public. Sure, we know being in municipal government isn’t an easy job. How many times can one person listen to the same complaint about garbage men being too noisy or skateboarders on private property? Let’s face it, whenever some- thing untoward happens in a community, there is a wide segment of residents who assume it is the mayor or city manager’s responsibility to correct the situation, whether it is a churlish DPW worker or a neighbor’s incontinent dog– –people expect action when the problem hits home. And the person they seek action from may have a line of people outside their door asking for OKs to get a $100,000 piece of city equipment repaired or needing to develop a plan to prevent an outbreak of infectious disease in the community.
We know, these people at the top have much bigger fish to fry.
But. when citizens have legitimate questions and complaints, they do not deserve to be brushed off like annoying gnats. They do not merit condescension and disingenuousness. They deserve courtesy, no matter how mundane or boring their complaint. They deserve respect and civility, even if their request or complaint cannot possibly be the responsibility of or within the pervue of community government. And by that, we do not mean the platitudes and false promises or misdirection that have been foisted on a few area citizens seeking answers at city and town- ship halls recently. And we certainly do not condone the rewriting of history offered to at least one resident who questioned the current situation in his neighborhood.
We’ve come to the conclusion, watching the peremptory, ill-mannered, mean spirited actions in one community, along with the out- and-out inappropriate and self- serving ethical breeches in another, that the respect for the taxpayers and residents which were, long ago it appears, one of the criteria for public service, are now void.
The new policy in some communities seems to be any action that shuts the resident up, gets he or she off the phone or away from the desk as quickly as possible.
We know, the economy has left municipal offices short staffed and on furlough days. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the work done and there aren’t enough staff people to take care of the business of the day. Top officials are doing the jobs of two staff people along with their own and their assistants have, in many cases, been laid off or are also doing the work of at least one other person along with their own.
But in, say Canton Township or Northville or Romulus, where the financial pressures are certainly present, we still find courtesy, a spirit of service, an apparently sincere desire to help citizens navigate their way through whatever the problem might be to a better conclusion.
And so far, unlike many others, none of them have lied to us.