The issue has come up on the Great Bend Tribune’s editorial pages recently. Folks have written letters to the editor taking the Barton County Commission to task for this or that.
Now, there is nothing wrong with questioning the actions of the commission, or of any of the city councils or school boards that serve the area. The members of these governing bodies were elected by the people to serve the people, and those constituents have the right to hold officials’ feet to the fire.
But, in the cases mentioned above, the writers penned their gripes without attending the meeting they questioned. Furthermore, the authors went on to question the job done by the newspaper reporter covering the meeting, saying they did not did deep enough.
It should be noted that all the meetings of our local governing entities are open to the public. In fact, public attendance is encouraged and these groups even offer opportunities for those in the audience to make a comment.
Little gets decided at meetings that hasn’t received a lot of discussion time, which takes place during the above-mentioned public gatherings. These officials don’t just sit around and blindly vote yes or no.
As we head to the poles today to elect our leaders, we must realize that our obligation as informed citizenry doesn’t end at the ballot box. We must be active in our democracy and interact with it.
We can view attending these meetings as job performance evaluations. We elect someone, now we need to see if they are living up to our expectations.
Get out and vote today.
Come back and attend the meetings down the road.
That way, if one is inclined to comment on the actions of officialdom, they will be speaking with the first-hand knowledge necessary to make an informed critique.