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My wife, Sandy, and I moved to Spencer County 11 years ago from out of state. We had no roots in Kentucky and picked this area based largely on a feeling that this could be a comfortable home for us. The longer we have lived here, the more we realize how fortunate we were to have chosen Taylorsville.
We made a decision that we wanted to actively participate in the community. Sandy served as the acting postmaster for nearly a year. I have been given the opportunity to be a member of the Main Street Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission and the Tax Appeals Commission. I recently served on the commission that prepared the redistricting proposal for the Spencer County Fiscal Court. In those roles I have observed the leaders of this county and city. I have found them to be a group of citizens with good intentions working hard to govern our community and make it better. Most of the time they do a great job, occasionally I believe even they would concede the train kind of goes off the rails. It is the train wrecks we focus on and criticize.
I believe that our elected leaders on the city commission and fiscal court without exception want to do a good job. They want to enact measures that will not only serve to govern us well today, but position us wisely for the future. What is lacking, in my opinion, is a well-articulated, documented, shared vision of what that means. That is not surprising. We have several new people in these positions. They are still learning and evolving.
This is normal and we, as voters, should expect as we elect new people there will be a learning curve. There are methods however, that can be used to accelerate the process and improve the effectiveness of our government more quickly.
The fiscal court and city commission should consider holding a joint session. The purpose would be for the bodies to brainstorm ideas and develop to the extent possible common agendas. Documented short-term objectives will keep us focused on today’s needs. Long term goals and objectives will give our elected officials a tool they can use to measure the value of new initiatives and directions.
The process does not have to be complex or lengthy. I would suggest a day together with a facilitator and some rip charts.
The session could began by brainstorming a simple concept, “Who are we today and who do we want to become?” Over the course of the day, principles could be established, such as reduce duplication and costly redundancy of services, streamline access to government services, or provide an overall growth plan for the city and county.
I would even be willing to provide pizza and soft drinks so our elected leaders could have a working lunch. The members of our city commission and fiscal court are smart enough and dedicated enough to be able to produce a working document that could provide direction and vision for Spencer County now and for years to come.
There are those who will be quick to criticize this idea. Some will argue that because I am not “from here” the idea is without value. Well, they might be right, but it won’t take much time or money to try it — and I even offered to buy lunch.
We hear more and more today that government should be run like a business. Ask yourself, if it were your company, wouldn’t you want to ensure that your leaders had a shared vision of your mission and your purpose? Where I come from, that is a no-brainer.
Gordon P. Deapen