Editorial/Op

Let’s Respect the Process

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An Editorial by Dave Freneaux

    Good, productive and well organized things do not happen spontaneously.  It is May and the first meeting of the 2011 Christmas Festival organizing committee took place Tuesday at noon.  Cooking in Central just happened last month yet the Cooking Board met this week and volunteers have already been recruited to organize Cookin’ 2012.  The Mayor’s City Services Committee began meeting last October and worked for seven months to hire IBTS as Central’s new City Services contractor.  Hundreds of people, working intentionally, set processes in motion to accomplish these large tasks.  Let’s Respect the Process.

    I could name many efforts, events and organizations that could serve as examples of processes that work, including the City of Central itself and the Central Community School Board.  Ordinances, policies, rules and procedures are constantly being considered, updated, refined and adopted which are intended to improve our City and Schools.  Anyone attending any one meeting in these processes may indeed fail to see the direction or purpose of any one decision, but the process moves steadily along and makes gains every month.  Let’s Respect the Process.

    We have become accustomed to getting everything we want RIGHT NOW.  Microwaves, emails, texts, overnight shipping and fast food joints have fooled us into believing that intentional and well planned progress is not immediate enough.  In fact, every example in the last two paragraphs supports the concept that well organized things do not happen spontaneously.  Let’s exhibit a little patience and willingness to work, and let’s Respect the Process.

    Having been immersed in raising children and being involved in all of their activities for all of their lives, I sent them off to college, looked around our new City, and found there were dozens of ways to get involved in the process.  I also found that every group involved in intentional and well planned efforts welcomed any volunteers who were willing to help the process along.  No closed doors, only people glad to have the help.  However, there were successful processes in place in these groups, so I did have to learn to Respect the Process.

    So the point of all of this is?  If I don’t like the way the City Council handles an issue, I should go talk to Council Members…that is the process.  If the School Board is considering an action with which I disagree, I need to voice my opinion at a School Board meeting and speak to my School Board member…that is the process.  If I want an explanation of why an elected official spoke or acted in a certain way, I should call or email the official, and they should respond…that is the process.  If I dislike an ordinance or feel a new ordinance needs to be written, I should find a Council Member willing to sponsor the ordinance…that is the process.  So the next time anyone is tempted to complain about something in Central, please consider first exploring what processes are in place for jumping in and becoming a part of the solution.  Let’s Respect the Process.

5 Comments

  1. Juanda Levert

    May 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Well said, Dave!

  2. Mike Mannino

    May 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Dave once again I find myself agreeing with you to a point but having to add to your thoughts. Ideally, you are right on target. But we live in a far from ideal world, country, state and certainly city. Over the last 2 years, many people out here have risen up to have their voices heard. Some have tried the methods above, no luck. The discourse out here, though not welcomed by some, IS the process for redress when people feel left out. Lets not pretend it has not had an affect , especially through the long process of selecting a new City Services Company.

    • dave

      May 28, 2011 at 3:02 am

      Mike,
      I will respect anyone who TRULY has sought to first work THROUGH the process, been denied a fair opportunity to be heard or to influence change, THEN has resorted to disrupting the process to accomplish reasonable goals.
      I do understand that my admonition to respect the process does not limit anyone’s freedom to ignore the process and seek less productive and more destructive means to accomplish their agendas. I will defend their right to do so, but I will not respect their methods, and I will continue to maintain that they should have FIRST sought to work THROUGH the process.

      Since you brought up the City Services contract as an example, let’s consider that process. Let’s assume that there were people who wanted to see the City Services contract put out for proposals at the end of the 3 year contract with CH2M Hill. (This is a fair assumption since I was one of those people.) Since the selection of professional service contractors is solely the right of the Mayor, the “process” in this case would be to meet with the Mayor or to write a letter to the Mayor and request that he put the contract out for proposals I did express my opinion to Mayor Watts and I found that he was in agreement and already planned to do so.

      Mike, you say “people feel left out” and that “people have risen up to have their voices heard”. My question would be, did they first arrange to have their voices heard by the Mayor that we elected to make that decision? If so, I commend them for working THROUGH the process. I hope they found, as I did, that Mayor Watts already planned to put City Services out for proposals. In fact, I will ask the Mayor how many letters, emails and in-person requests he received from citizens asking that the contract be put out for proposals. I will post an answer here, hopefully by Monday.
      Feeling left out is not usually a free pass to ignore the process, it is usually a wakeup call to get involved in the process.

  3. Mike Mannino

    May 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Part of the process is feedback I agree. How we do that is an individual choice and right. You would be amazed at how many people will never pick up the phone or write an email but they clearly have opinions. These are the people that vote every election. They speak to people at get togthers, family gatherings, etc, and voice their frustration. Thats their process. To try and chastise them for thier right to input the way they want and control their actions to fit someones view of how the process should work is wrong. In your model, we wouldnt be having the uprisings in the middle east. wouldnt have a Tea Party, and I challenge that we may have rolled the City Services contract over.

    • dave

      May 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Mike,
      Please don’t put words in my mouth. You are trying to take an encouragement to get involved in the process and make it look like an attempt to discourage the expression of opinions. Everyone needs to discuss the issues. Everyone needs to share their ideas and express their opinions and their frustrations. This is not a question of how people develop their opinions or even how they try to win others over to share those opinions. This is about what we do once we have decided we want to get involved, either to encourage the process, or to make changes to the process itself.

      If what you want to do is discuss your issues until you find the friend that wants to carry your message out into the community, that is great! So do it!

      Fact is, this country is the greatest in the world because people got involved in the process. In some cases, they caused the process to succeed, in other cases they saw the process was flawed and they helped to fix it. In some cases, they gave the system a fair chance, saw that it could never work, and set to work to replace the system. It is all too easy to condemn a process without ever having pitched in to make it work or to improve it.

      Do you really think the Tea Party movement was created by people who had never participated on the process? Certainly not. They got involved, could not accomplish their goals by working within the process, and THEN sought to create a different process.

      A question for you Mike: when did you go to the Mayor and request that he put Central’s City Services out for proposal, and what did he say?

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