Are you ready to serve?
Published 10:59 pm Friday, October 17, 2014
We have some important decisions to make by Election Day, and they should involve thoughtful consideration of the definition of “public servant.”
A public servant, according to Dictionary.com, is a person holding a government office or job by election or appointment.
Examples include police officers, paid and volunteer firefighters, health officers, the public works director, city clerk, code enforcement personnel, and personnel authorized to enforce city ordinances, statutes and codes.
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Here’s my personal perspective on what it takes to be a public servant. If you’re a public servant, you’re prone to scrutiny by the public and the media. That’s the price you have to pay. Your actions and decisions are being analyzed and, at times, criticized.
Your critics and detractors are on constant watch and may be critical of the actions you take.
As a public servant, you are accountable for your actions. You are responsible to your constituents who supported you, financially or otherwise, and the whole populace, who look up to you for leadership, honesty and integrity.
Leadership and transparency are two of the qualities I’m looking for in a public servant. He or she should lead by example. What he or she preaches, he or she should practice.
I want a public servant who is trustworthy, one who genuinely serves the public and not the other way around. If he has a conflict of interest in serving his people, he should have no business governing or leading the people. He should put his or her own welfare aside for the public’s welfare.
You cannot serve two masters at the same time. Where lies your interest? Your own personal interest or the people’s business? If your interest is not in the welfare of the people who elected you, then you have no business working in the government. Make way for a true and sincere servant of the people.
Politicians take heed: You volunteered to serve the public. Therefore, you are obligated to serve in the best interest of the people whom you represent. You are not in the office to make yourself rich at the expense of your constituents.
Don’t let your people down. If you do and become corrupt or ineffective and unresponsive to their needs, you lost their trust and respect. They will find the way to remove you from your office. Don’t ever think that, because you’re powerful, you can’t be replaced. The electorate is not dumb.
Are you ready to serve and promote a safe, peaceful, progressive community, to govern us in a manner that exemplifies true public service?
Are you ready to go out personally to listen to and feel the pulse of the community? Are you ready to sacrifice your time, talent, and treasure where needed?
CHRIS A. QUILPA, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.