Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 60 Professional Opinions

Professional opinions expressed by senior public employees and department supervisors have a tendency to quickly devalue as they are brought up for discussion during public meetings or public hearings.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 59 Information Deterioration

Most information that is collected in a unit of local government has a propensity to deteriorate in quality as it moves upward toward the local public officials.  The rate of deterioration increases dramatically when the information that has been collected is being discussed in a public meeting or public hearing.

Therefore verify, verify and verify any information you have before you go public with it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 58 Blame

In local government, just like in corporate America, assigning the blame when a problem is detected is always easier than actually fixing the problem.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 57 Time Spent on a Project

They best way to understand any project undertaken by a local government unit (i.e. city, village, county, township, school board, borough, parish, district etc.) is to remember that the first 90% of the project will take approximately 10% of the time; it will be the last 10% of the project that will take up 90% of the time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 56 Fallout

If you're an elected or appointed local public official, expect to receive fallout "when anything hits the fan" - even if you were out of town, in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery, and had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 55 Productive Public Hearing

You never know for sure when it will arrive, but there comes a moment during every public hearing when you know nothing more productive can possibly come out of the rest of the meeting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 54 Realizing You Are Wrong

Nothing will be more infuriating for you as public official than that very moment when you are in a heated discussion with a political adversary or speaking out in a well attended public meeting and you suddenly realize that you are totally wrong in what you have been saying.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 53 Sending Out Minutes

We all know it is very important to send out the minutes of any public meeting in a timely manner, but we sometimes forget ...

Only two delegates to the Continental Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776: John Hancock and Charles Thomson.

Most of the delegates did not sign the Declaration of Independence until August 2 and the last signature was not added until 1781 - five years later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 52 Saving Phone Numbers

It’s a good idea to save the phone numbers of many of your political adversaries and community antagonists in your cell phone so you know which calls not to take when you are in an important meeting or enjoying quality time with your family.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 51 Business Development

The question is not whether your town, village, city or county wants business development ...
The question is, what does your community offer businesses and their employees who might consider relocating to, or establishing a new business in, your community?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 50 Double Standards

Eliminate double standards in local government -
Don't have one standard for government employees and another for the elected or appointed public officials who serve in local government.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 49 - Public Office Term Focus

Remember your term in public office will be short so focus on:

1) Speaking slowly

2) Forgiving quickly

3) Laughing often, and

4) Walking away with absolutely no regrets.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 48 Good Judgment

In local government “Good Judgment” comes from experience -- and experience in local government seems to only be acquired from previous bad judgment.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 98 How To Be a Great Failure in Local Government

The quickest way to ensure you are "total failure as a Local Public Government" is to try to make everyone in the community happy with your decisions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 47 Ways Public Officials Learn

There are three ways local public officials learn.

Some learn by reading - so give them documentation regarding the subject.

Some learn by observation - so take them out for a tour of the problem.

Some learn only by trial and error - get out of their way and hope they figure it out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 45 - Raising Taxes

There are two well-known and widely accepted theories on how to raise property taxes without causing pain in your local community - neither of them work.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 44 - Problems You Have to Face

99.3 % of all the problems, controversies, and delicate issues you and your colleagues will have to face, confront, or deal with are either created or initiated by the actions or lack of actions taken by the board, councils, or committees that preceded you in local government.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 43 - Accomplishments While in Office

No matter how much you accomplish or personally try to accomplish during your term in office, there will always be a handful of adversaries - constituents and/or community residents - who will insist you didn’t do enough while you were in office.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 42 - Crisis

When your unit of local government is confronted with a crisis or an extremely difficult situation, trying to find a viable solution you can live with might be a lot easier if you ask yourself, "How would my mother or father handle this situation?"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 41 - State Statutes

Following state statutes can often prevent you and your colleagues from solving the unique problems plaguing your unit of local government or community.  But rest assured, finding cost-effective ways or creating ways to resolve your unique local problems will never, ever be accepted as a valid excuse for not following state statutes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 40 - Who Can Do a Better Job?

Anyone can do a better job than you in local government provided they aren’t elected or appointed to your seat or position.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 39 - Forgiveness

To err is human; however, most policy handbooks written by local units of government are designed in such a way that forgiveness is seldom allowed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 38 - Length of Meetings

Never delay scheduling the end of a board/council/borough/parish meeting. For the good of everyone in the room, keep your public meetings short and finish on time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 37 - Miscellaneous Issues

98% of the all the controversial and major issues your current public body will deal with during your term in office will be filed under "miscellaneous" five years from now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 36 - Pats on the Back

Never forget the pats on your back you receive from your constituents one day are just a few centimeters away from being voted out of office at the next election.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 35 - Understanding Issues

As a duly elected or appointed local public official, you can only explain the complexities of the issues confronting your community to your local residents - you cannot understand the issues for them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 34 - Boring Employees

Public employees who spend all their time at work are typically not hard working ... they are boring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 33 - Project Accountability

Assigning two departments 100% of the responsibility for the completion of a specific function or special project in your unit of local government ensures that each department will have only 10% accountability if that function or project fails. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 32 - Leopard Spots

The only known way to change the spots on a leopard is to alter its DNA.  Unless you or one of your colleagues are genetic biologists, it is generally cheaper, quicker and wiser to get rid of a leopard with the wrong spots and replace it with a new leopard who has the spots where your unit of local government needs them.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 31 - Motivated Staff

An uninspired, unmotivated, and untrained staff within a unit of local government costs more to maintain and operate than a local government staff that is motivated, inspired, and well-trained.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 30 - Meeting Attire

Wearing bib overalls, flannel shirts, tennis shoes, DeKalb ball caps, Harley Davidson leather vests,  Hooter's or Jack Daniels T-shirts and plunging necklines, etc. seldom help to make a favorable impression when meeting with state officials, business leaders, or reporters from major media outlets.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 29 - Walking with Your Employees

Don't walk in front of public employees - they may not follow you. Don't walk behind public employees - they may not know which way you want them to go. When you are a local government official, always walk beside your public employees and give them directions, advice, and feedback along the way.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 28

It may be that your sole purpose as an elected officials is to lighten the load for others who live in your community.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 27

As a local public official it is incumbant upon you that you learn as much as you can about how your unit of local government operates and functions, as well as all it's strenghts and weaknesses.  Public officials who only possess good intentions are absolutely worthless.  Its those Government Offcials with current knoweldge and hands-on experience who get things done and create the results a commumity needs and people will remember.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pearl of Wisdom # 26

If you can't be kind when describing the values and strengths of one of your board/council colleagues in local government, at least have the decency to be extremely vague in your description.