Petty squabbles are not in Carlinville's best interest

Petty squabbles are not in Carlinville’s best interest

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The Issue: Carlinville’s best interest is being derailed by smoke and mirrors.

Our View: If you’re not working together and compromising, you’re not doing your jobs.

The election is over. The drama that has played out on these pages over the last couple of years has been palpable, not to mention concerning.

The shouting and accusations that went on during the last City Council meeting was at least troublesome, and, at most, disgraceful. So much focus has been placed on the personal agendas of some of those serving on Carlinville’s City Council, one wonders if the same energy could have been used in a more productive way. No matter which side of the aisle one’s opinions fall, the ongoing antics around the council table at City Hall serve no one. It seems everyone is more interested in being “right” than they are in getting on with the business of the city.

To the members of Carlinville City Council, no one cares that you’re mad. No one cares about your personal vendettas. People care about the business of the city being conducted in a responsible way, and when you’re wasting time and money (a lot of it), trying to prove just how “right” your individual points of view are, you’re not conducting Carlinville business in a responsible way. As individuals, you are powerless. There isn’t a single one of you whose individual opinion carries an ounce of weight. The power lies with the council as a whole and with the outcome of the vote, which means you must work together. You must negotiate. You must compromise. You must quit finger pointing.

We get that it’s human to want to stand one’s ground. Those who sit in the audience meeting after meeting just want you to get the business of the city done as efficiently as possible. It’s no wonder most meetings are barely attended; the meetings are painful to listen to. It’s troublesome that considerably more time seems to be spent trying to catch fellow elected officials in some sort of wrong-doing than serving the people of Carlinville. Councils aren’t perfect, but mistakes are usually made out of well-intended ignorance rather than malice.

Did you know that whenever more than two councilmen get together over breakfast or in a local apartment and any city issue is discussed, it is considered a public meeting? You don’t even have to be in a physical meeting. An exchange of electronic messages about city affairs traded among three or more councilmen is a violation. That means there has to be an agenda, public notice and a record of the discussion. We think some of you either blatantly ignore this or, hopefully, have no idea of the wrongdoing, even though it’s been written on these pages more than once, and discussed in open session of a council meeting.  There are people in this town who pay attention to what goes on, and they have no problem ringing the paper.

Most of us live in a glass house, where it doesn’t take a whole lot of digging to come up with enough stones to retaliate in kind. The question is: Who is willing to put an end to the nonsense? Who is the bigger person?

There isn’t a person in city government who doesn’t have valuable skills to bring to the table, but those qualities are being overshadowed by petty bickering. No one looks good, and it sullies the city’s reputation. What local business would want to come to a town with so much in-fighting?

In last week’s edition, we asked all those running in contested races how they would handle conflict among other elected officials. Everyone seemed to agree that working harder to come to a resolution that is acceptable to both sides is the best way to handle such conflict. There are plenty of smart people in Carlinville. Successful people. Caring people. People who don’t hesitate to volunteer when needed. We don’t think for a minute that anyone from the outside has a better handle on what Carlinville needs as far as city government than the citizens who have made this town their home.