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Lettter: Incivility mars time in public office

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From: Kenny Whipker


I’d like to share my thoughts as a Columbus city councilman in the hope of instilling a sense of civility, transparency and common sense approach to our decision-making process.

I stepped in to fill a mid-term vacancy within the common council approximately eight months ago. I am asked by many people if I have any regrets, followed by the question, “Do you enjoy it?” My response is yes and no. In truth, yes, but sometimes I have my regrets. It isn’t about the job since I am very proud of what the common council has accomplished in the past and what it will accomplish in the future. My only regret is that I was somewhat taken back by the lack of civility and unilateral decisions in a small percentage of people at times and the effect that it has on our community and on the people that I care about.

Do I enjoy it? No, but I didn’t take this job thinking I was really going to enjoy it. I am a career public servant, having spent my entire adult life in the military and as a law enforcement official. I enjoy my life at home, my family and community. Being an elected official makes me vulnerable, but at the same time I get to meet an amazing amount of people who love our city and will do whatever it takes to maintain the quality of life issues that we have available to us.

If we are to hope that civic-minded people will continue to seek office without fear of being attacked, it is important that opinions, both spoken and published, are informed. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you attend meetings, get to personally know your elected officials and representatives, and speak with staff in order to educate yourself. I do find it disappointing when a published letter or opinion is from someone who has never stepped a foot into city hall, does or has not attended public meetings, served in public office or has not reached out to the elected officials.

In conclusion, I ask you to be leery of those who pass judgments without being properly advised of any particular incident or situation. I personally refuse to become a pawn of flattery and manipulation, and I am very leery and untrusting of those who attempt this process. I would say trust your instinct, question authority and unilateral decisions, question your tendency to pity or anger too easily and do not join in the game.

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