Our county government leaders are in a bit of a tizzy.
It’s kind of like the mayor and town council of the fictional coastal New York community of Amity Island in the 1975 blockbuster movie “Jaws.” They seem unsure of what to do.
There is even some argument among them over what they have actually already done, and about what was said and done leading up to that action.
And their primary concern seems to be public perception of them.
All the re-hashing of a controversy over a long-time county employee who did or did not suffer a pay cut, did or did not retire, did or did not deserve unemployment compensation or retirement benefits or whatever seemed largely pointless.
If we’re going to insist on digging up this matter, let’s address it from the standpoint of what we all may have learned from it.
Let’s agree that the county employee at the center of this mess deserved some sort of reward at the end of a long period of service, and that a cooperative effort among county officials could have come up with an appropriate and completely legal manner in which to present that reward.
Let’s agree that, once the matter was handled otherwise, it could’ve been resolved through a cooperative effort to address the situation without creating such a divisive controversy and costing county taxpayers so much money to hire an independent counselor to conduct a lengthy investigation which, in the end, resulted in a grand jury dismissing the whole matter.
Let’s agree that all public figures and all elected officials in particular have their supporters and their detractors, but their duty is to act decisively, doing what they are convinced is the best and most correct thing, in all instances, with absolutely no regard for political consequences.
All should act on their sincere convictions and let the chips fall where they may.
To do that may indeed be a courageous thing always, but especially in the dramatically polarized political times in which we live.
To expect such behavior out of politicians may be beyond naive; laughable, even.
Nevertheless, it’s the gauntlet we throw down to county officials.
Just govern, guys. Let your backsides be patted or smacked, according to the individual opinions of those you serve. But govern.
Trying to tap-dance along the razor edge of wholesale public approval is not only a lost cause, it is an unsavory one.