PD Gives Three Words To Encouraging Public Service – How About A Column A Week?

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier, especially because I kind of do this already.

As I have noted before, I believe that the Plain Dealer, which has run more than enough articles, columns and LTEs that evince a sense of hopelessness about the quality of candidates for elected office and public service we may ever get in NE Ohio, has, itself, got to step up and do more than just report on crappy elected officials and corrupt cronies.  It should enter the realm of encouraging, not discouraging, our NE Ohio population from engaging in and being employed in public service.

I saw the teeny tiniest ray of hope in this PD editorial in today’s paper:

• Expand the talent pool. Many county boards and commissions are filled with familiar faces. FitzGerald wants to use them to groom a new corps of diverse leaders, but again, he’s getting few applications. This might be a great way to involve many of the citizens who took part in the transition teams. Interested? Step up.

I almost fell over when I read those last three words. I have been waiting for and wanting the PD (and anyone and all others, not only the political parties) to step up themselves and play a role in this very specific “high priority” as the PD calls it in the column.

One suggestion: Let those of us who most recently entered elected office for the first time write about it in a weekly column to appear in the Plain Dealer for the next eight or so months – through the filing deadlines for the municipal elections.

What’s the best way to encourage and mentor people through the analysis of whether to run for office and how to run for office, especially if you don’t have a favored last name or in fact may have a disfavored one now, among other obstacles in front of you?

Ask those of us who have done it – believe me, we want company. And we know there are more out there qualified and simply in need of encouragement.

You know where and how to find me. Can even be just online – no one runs for office today without being somewhat tech-savvy, if only for raising money.  Come on, John Kroll – you know this is a good idea! This is done for business entrepreneurs, for encouraging philanthropy, for advising people on how not to make mistakes others have made in business.

Let’s shed more sunshine on the best public service has to offer and why people should, as the PD wrote today, step up.

3 thoughts on “PD Gives Three Words To Encouraging Public Service – How About A Column A Week?

  1. Jill, it’s interesting that the PD seems to look at the volunteer help as an adjunct to the paid help in the government and the nonprofit sectors, as a supplement to those who are forming careers. I think the better position is to view unpaid civic service as a replacement of the paid help in the government and in the secular nonprofits. Such activity should truly be service.

  2. Chandra, great suggestions. I think there are a few orgs in place already that do a bit of this but I need to learn more about them. My biggest fear is having the same names and faces just talking about needing new names and faces. That’s not what I think works, personally.

  3. How about grooming leaders for the non-elected positions as well? Instead of giving away positions to family members of politicians, campaign contributors, friends, etc. we learn to groom the talent from within? Those employees entered the field because they have an interest in serving the public, and they are beholden to no one. Sadly, neither Summit nor Cuyahoga seem interested in doing this and so the public servants become disillusioned and leave for the better pay of the private sector.

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