The reasons for New Year’s resolutions are varied and, typically, have the shelf life of the holiday itself.
At least that has been my experience.
I am not sure I have ever made it to Jan. 31 in any single year with any resolution and I would be willing to bet that based on the angst-filled articles and television shows on the subject I am clearly not alone.
Heck, Congress and the President can’t even get to January with any resolution for solving long-term entrenched fiscal issues after swearing up and down after the elections that the American people had spoken and they wanted compromise.
Which we did, but as most of us of adult age can gather by now, deafness is rampant in Washington, D.C.
In any case, let’s turn the onus of a resolution – something one might actually have to stick to – to a hope and here are a few for the New Year that seems appropriate.
Barry Sellers – Clarification.
Here is hoping that the Board of County Commissioners, city of Port St. Joe, city of Wewahitchka, the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, somebody has the sense to give this guy a break.
The BOCC has performed the political back-flip enough and this latest excursion into capricious decision-making – blowing up a consolidated economic development agency less than two years after creating it and hiring Sellers from Arkansas – takes the cake of flat out disregard for another human being.
In this day and age, in this holiday season and brutal economic times, to leave Sellers swinging in the lurch as to what 2013 holds is not only short-sighted, but simply mean-spirited.
Sellers, you are EDC director; no, you’re a county employee answerable to administrator Don Butler; no, wait, you’re in Whoville with the BOCC starring as the Grinch.
Tan Smiley and Ward McDaniel – The hope for the two county commissioners, reaching the midpoint in their first terms, is greater understanding as to the factors that led to their election two years ago.
Voters wanted change to start and with the addition this year of County Commissioner Joanna Bryan there are now three votes on the BOCC that were brought to office on the promise of change in the way the BOCC conducts business.
The TDC and EDC messes this past year are sufficient evidence that change is tardy.
The list of changes is laundry-like – transparency through items such as a clear agenda, treating the public as if they are the employers and holding meetings and making decisions by their rhythms, ridding the meeting room of personal attacks – but there are now three votes to perform the duties voters pleaded of you to begin with.
So do it.
The Cape San Blas Lighthouse – It’s rescued without bloodshed.
There is a sharp divide regarding the possible future location of the lighthouse, but the battle that is brewing could end up as such a drawn-out bruising affair maybe the ocean would be a better choice.
While there is a clear consensus among the group most invested in the lighthouse – the St. Joseph Historical Society which has been about preserving the lighthouse years before elected officials got involved – but constituents with varying agendas have commissioners in a twist.
The saga is really another example of why county-wide voting is needed, as underscored by Bryan during a recent BOCC discussion about the lighthouse’s future when she said Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka were also part of the county and therefore the equation.
There can be fine rhetoric about collaboration but what is shaping up is wrestling over ownership of a historic treasure, which due to the nature of the amount of taxpayer money poured into restoring a keeper’s quarters and the lighthouse is nobody’s possession but the public’s.
Make a decision based on best use for the public.
The Port – A client, any client.
Eastern Shipbuilding is still on track to arrive early next year but the Port Authority could use any positive news and if by this time next year we are talking about any kind of revenue stream for the port, 2013 would be banner.
An investment banker cautioned the Port Authority that things such as economic development take time – head’s up BOCC – but given all the sweat equity that has been poured into that port by folks, some of whom have spent 2012 essentially volunteering, there would be a certain satisfaction in seeing some of those visions coming true.
We can be patient, that is part of the game, but there can always be hope.
John Hanlon and Mitch Burke – The grace and professionalism of their predecessors.
Hanlon, who will become Supervisor of Elections next month, and Burke, who on the same day will become Property Appraiser, have large shoes to fill.
Linda Griffin, retiring as Supervisor of Elections, and Kesley Colbert, stepping into retirement after nearly three decades as Property Appraiser, defined the characteristics we’d all want in a public servant.
They watched their taxpayer pennies, were unfailingly polite and gracious to their constituents – when Griffin said “her voters” she meant it in every positive connotation of the word – and served this county through some difficult times.
Griffin in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle in Florida and all the changes that brought and Colbert through the worst swing in property values in the history of the county.
To paraphrase Kipling, they seemed to maintain their heads when all about them were losing theirs.
Hanlon and Burke can aspire to duplicate those skills and that would be enough.
Finally, a wish to all our readers – may your 2013 be filled with hopes and dreams that are realized; our hope is we see you same time next year.