A frivolous expense?

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 4, 2004

What will a survey of Suffolk residents tell City Council members?

During the council’s work session Wednesday, a Continental Research representative outlined the techniques the company will use to solicit 300 responses from what the company claims will be a cross section of city residents, representing each borough.

Officials said they hope to learn what residents think of the direction in which the city is headed.

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&uot;The purpose here is for us to get some feedback from citizens as to what we are doing and the direction we are headed,&uot; Mayor E. Dana Dickens III said.

While it’s a commendable of officials to consider the wants and needs of their constituents, this survey nonetheless appears to be a frivolous expense.

There already is a mechanism in place to gauge the public’s satisfaction with their elected officials – it’s called an election. It costs a lot of money to pull off and we do it regularly.

We elect people to City Council to represent us, look after our interests. We want them to make the decisions for us because we are too busy to do it for ourselves. If we’re dissatisfied with their actions or their conduct, we will vote them out of office. If we are satisfied, we will re-elect them.

Most people, unfortunately, are apathetic about what goes on in City Hall – one needs simply look at voter turnout in recent elections. As long as the trash is picked up on time, the water flows, the schools are open, and police and fire personnel come when called, most people are generally satisfied.

And those who think in larger terms are not generally shy about letting their representative know how they feel – without a survey.