The most gratifying thing about writing these commentaries is the feedback I get. It doesn’t matter if the feedback is positive, or negative (though I like the positive kind better). Feedback tells me I’m having an impact. Feedback also helps me to inform my thinking. The only time I ignore feedback is if it lacks civility.
A recent commentary covered the county board, and the lack of candidates for the seats. I got the following responses from Commissioner Barbara Weckman Brekke. I thank her for allowing me to quote her here.
“Thank you for the congratulations. It has been a crazy busy year of county business. Sometime when we can meet in person again, I would love to chat with you regarding the column you wrote about county commissioners. I agree that County Commissioners are compensated well, but I am not sure the column communicated the depth and breadth of the duties (if they are done well). Every day I am in conversations about and wrestling with topics around significant, long-term policies and actions having to with things like: child and adult protection, jail policies, how to keep people out of jail and out of trouble (as this is the best way to save taxpayer $$ and have a safer, healthier county), how to influence policies/laws/regulations at the state and federal levels that impact Scott County, etc.
So, I hope you will be up for such a conversation in the spring. It will be nice to meet with folks face-to-face again.”
“Yes, feel free to use parts of my email about my work as a County Commissioner. Some days I spend more than 8 hours on county meetings and business!”
The Commissioner is correct on all counts. They are well compensated. And those who choose to do well, have a wide variety of duties. In my opinion, the Scott County Board of Commissioners does a pretty good job. My previous commentary wasn’t about the quality of their work. It was about the surprising (to me, anyway) lack of opposition candidates for seats. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing especially controversial happening right now. Or maybe it’s because voters in Scott County were just too consumed by the national election. Or maybe people just don’t care.
While my previous commentary touched on the fact that there are no educational or experience requirements, neither Commissioner Weckman Brekke nor I mentioned the one, informal requirement for County Board members, and others in government.
The Quote: “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” -Josh Billings