Most importantly ‘Dear David Shanahan, Editor’. Mr. Shanahan, you are the reason that I look forward to the arrival each week of the North Grenville Times (NGT). In the first month of retiring to Kemptville in November 2012, ‘OUR’ NGT news struck me as exceptional.
I offer my congratulations for such a comprehensive, non-partisan, objective view and review of local news. The congratulations are mild and perhaps ineffective. This is due to the shortage of adequate words to express any value one can attribute to such a print forum for citizens voices, views, and daily experiences. It seems that the NGT reduces all challenges of our communities to bite-sized polemics providing for all citizens a debate-forum in a manner which, allows us to be fully informed of all viewpoints, causes, and effects of our actions or inactions.
Regarding our elections held this week, you penned a column forecasting therein that: “North Grenville needs a new start, representatives who know what Green means, as well as Growing, and can keep a balance between them. People who know that lifestyle is about more than just business. People who think, who care, who take the trouble to find out what our concerns are, what we want to see happen in our community. Current members of council may be nice people, but they have failed the people who elected them. After four, eight (years), or even longer on council, they have proved themselves incapable of the change that we need to see…”
I firmly believe that you, Mr. Shanahan, your newspaper (NGT), your reporters, administration and all other contributors to the NGT are the genesis of the change now upon us; a change we residents wanted. Perhaps up until now we were afraid. NGT helped us open our eyes wider and consider taking a ‘big town’ risk. This is a new direction of ours. It is timely. Perhaps we shed a good councilor or two in order to obtain this change; however, I believe it is a consequence for which we voters came prepared. In this regard, I am allowing myself one shameless pejorative: “Good bye North Grenville ‘old boys network’ and, if you are a “nice” councilor, then ask yourself how much you contributed to its continuance”. Perhaps that is why you are gone”.
I served as an elected civic member of the Non Partisan Association (NPA) in Vancouver many years ago. The NPA provided orientation classes in those days for its candidates in order to benefit from the composite knowledge, experiences and ‘corporate memory’ of previously elected officials. One lesson given still recalled by me as most valuable was this: “when elected, for at least the first 12 months, trust explicitly all public servants who serve you; give them the respect they deserve UNTIL they prove otherwise.”
In other words, we were told – there will be ‘water cooler talk, rumours, bitterness, accusations of ’empire building’ and inbred conflicts of interest and much more. Yes, there will be ‘old boys network’ (‘Establishment’ was the word we used) innuendo spreading upwards. Spend your time on yourself in the first year, learn what is needed, understand how you can give and push yourself to squeeze the very best out of those who now are serving you; realize and show the requisite empathy towards public servants who almost innately desire to be accountable to us, the citizens…”
I hope this lesson learned by so many years ago will assist everyone new over the next year.
Regards and good luck
Retired in the beautiful bayou of North Grenville.