I was looking at some of my previous posts on the topic of Enterprise and the Trust and Assumptions post from last September, nine months ago, stood out to me and I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit and see if any progress has been made in the current political climate in The City of Progress.
A lot has happened since last September. We have a new Superintendent of Schools and President of the School Board just beginning a new term next month. We also have a new city council president. They all have an opportunity to act on many of the suggestions mentioned in Trust and Assumptions. I am not presumptuous enough to believe they have to get their ideas here. They are just common sense suggestions.
I still believe they would help to build trust between the community and those serving as leaders on the school board and city council and minimize assumptions and rumors. The choice as it did nine months ago will be made by action or inaction by the school board, superintendent, city council and mayor. My hope is they will make a different choice than has been made so far.
I did not think it possible but the amount of information we receive at school board meetings has actually decreased. It is practically non-existent and encourages assumptions and rumors to be created and perpetuated. That is partially due to the gag order put on community input by the interim superintendent last year but that is not the only reason. There is just no openness or “transparency”, an overused word lately, in their actions. To quote Mrs. Jones from last June, “There are some things you just don’t know.” I agree and that will continue unless the board shares openly what can be shared with the public.
The individual board member saying call me or come talk to me is disingenuous at best. If there is information to share, share it at the board meetings with the people who are there to learn what is going on. That will get the same version of information to many more people and save your time as well.
Of the two meetings the city council does provide more background information but sometimes it seems they are in a race to get done by 6:15. There is room for improvement.
If continuing and ever-growing assumptions and rumors are their goal then all they have to do is maintain the status quo. If those in leadership positions want to effect change in the current climate of distrust and skepticism then that is their choice. The fact they have chosen, so far, to avoid providing the filler or in-between-the-lines information indicates to me they are happy with the current climate of distrust and skepticism and want to see that continue.
Here is some of what I wrote last September primarily directed to the school board but it is applicable to the city council as well.
Sharing information – communicating – is critical, in my estimation if this situation is to change. The information would not have to be printed but that is one option. Another would be to use the News sections of the School Board web site and post information there or the board or individual board members could start a blog and share information that way. If I can do it anyone can.
The method is not the critical issue but sharing information is.
What could be shared?
I know there are some things that are not shareable to the public. I am not talking about that type of information. I am talking about filling in some of the gaps that do not get addressed during the board meetings or are not explained adequately…Updates for what is going on between the board meetings and maybe even some of the whys and methodology used to arrive at the decisions being made during the meetings could be shared also.
Will it even be tried?
This question was asked nine months ago and the answer so far is no. It has not been attempted. With Mrs. Jones taking over as the new board president next month, Mr. Donaldson just recently taking over as city council president and Dr. Wright just six months into her role as superintendent of schools now would be a great time to make such an effort if they have any desire to change the climate in Enterprise.
I really hope they do give this a shot. It would be amazing if we could get the whole community on the same page and working together again according to the principle expressed in this quote by Ronald Reagan,
“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” — First Inaugural Address, January 21, 1981
I never thought I would be writing anything in support of climate change but I just did. I know the climate in Enterprise can be changed. It will take an intentional effort on the part of those in power now to start that process and then a willingness by the community to recognize and accept the effort as genuine.
If no changes are made the status quo will continue to roll on and the election cycle for 2016 will begin with many looking for new leaders in Enterprise.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 6/17/2014