The classical definition of management is the proper utilization of men, material, equipment and resources to accomplish a job. This is practically the same definition, verbatim, taught at the U.S Army Officer Candidate School. Leadership is the ability to convince others to work together to accomplish a mission or job. While management can be taught the ability to lead is a learned behavior.
Leadership and the ability to manage the workings of our government has been questioned in a negative context for quit a while. Our Federal Government has the lowest approval level since its existence and our elected officials are being slammed from the opposition, members of their party and the people that elected them. It appears that there is no end to what appears to be a negative performance. I have been concerned about our government and the ability to lead us back into the greatness and respect that we once relished in. Everyone seems to have nothing god to say of government and I must admit that I have shared in my own discussions of dissatisfaction. Then I went to hear one of our own elected officials speak and I began reflecting on the positive instead of the negative.
State Representative Rob Shaddoin spoke to a local group last week and as I listened to what he said I realized that he and many other elected officials truly have the interest of the people that elected them in mind. I began thinking about our own local governments and how they manage the day to day state of affairs presented to them. When the town and parish officials are facing fiscal problems and financial shortfalls are in front of them they must balance the budgets. While towns and cities in California borrow until they are bankrupt, the elected officials of our communities opt to make the decisions that will keep us financially solvent. This is leadership at its best and is a tribute to both the officials and the people that have elected them.
Nothing is perfect and no one can make the best decisions every time a solution is required. However, the person that puts the well being of the voters above personal and even political association is the individual that will lead our country to a continued greatness.
A strong government is a two way street. Our elected officials are the spokesmen of the people that sent the man or woman to represent them. Also, the population that elected the officials has an obligation to mold and build the community that they live and work in. This is no more evident than in our own local communities. Our mayors Baughman, Franklin, Skains, Patton and Futch have dealt with financial obstacles and handled each one as they arose. Observing progress that has taken place due to this leadership should make us all proud of what is being done for our communities. Other examples of local pride display the close relationship between elected officials and the community. Last year both Farmerville and Marion were selected as the cleanest cities in the state. This is no small feat and everyone deserves a pat on the back. What is even more amazing is that Farmerville received this award for the second straight year. Now it is time for our communities to step up and compete again. Farmerville was just honored with a basketball team that makes any community proud. Soon Farmerville will have the unprecedented opportunity to become a three time cleanest city winner and Marion can win its second straight title. What a wonderful way to get on the nation’s radar as a class community.
Unfortunately it appears that the farther the government center is geographically away from the local voters the more the government has become disenfranchised with the voters. Wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government would operate like our local and state governments and wouldn’t it be nice if we took an active interest in our federal government by contacting and working with our federal officials?


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