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Don’t simply complain; be part of the process

By Staff | Sep 4, 2015

Over the nearly 20 years that I have been working in this industry and have been out covering decision-makers, I have seen over and over again where members of a community get up in arms after a decision is made.

That beast reared its ugly head Tuesday evening in the little town of Bolivar when a town council meeting was packed with citizens complaining about the defunding of the police force. There were nearly three dozen or more people, many of whom had never seen the inside of the council room before.

While I don’t advocate for one side of that coin or another with regard to the issue, for folks to come in and bash decision makers after the fact is a day late and a dollar short, as they say. The decisions that are made by our elected or appointed officials do not get made without discussion and thought. (Or at least not for the most part.)

West Virginia has made it a requirement that agendas of meetings are to be posted (The ‘sunshine law’) and folks can clearly see what the topics of discussion are going to be. It is not the fault of the council members, commissioners or committee members if the citizenry does not avail themselves of information that is out there for the taking. Meetings all are open and offer time for the public to make comments and to provide written comment as well. If you want your leaders to do what you think they should, you have to let them know about before a decision is made!

This piece of advice comes to Shepherdstown this week as the Jefferson County Planning Commission lists an agenda item Tuesday, Sept. 8 regarding a rezoning of a property just outside of the town limits. Those who have an interest in the possible approval or denial of this rezoning should make themselves aware of the facts and head out to the meeting to be heard.

To yell and scream and act rudely to leadership after a decision is made is uncalled for when those doing the yelling and screaming never bothered to offer input before the decision. Don’t be one of those who complain after the fact-let your voice be heard.