As an elected official, it is essential to listen to the concerns of the residents of Montgomery. I have engaged in many conversations that suggest one’s point of view is very important and should be implemented immediately. Another resident may share an opposite opinion and recommend not to make a hasty decision. Sometimes after listening to both sides of the issue, I conclude there is no viable solution.
Does this mean I am not listening? Does this mean I do not care? Does this mean the opinions and ideas of the other 10,000 residents does not matter because one person’s opinion should supersede all others? I don’t think so!
Our role as elected officials is to understand the big picture. In many situations I ask myself these five questions that each City of Montgomery employee asks themselves when making a decision:
- Is it right for the community?
- Is it right for the City?
- Is it ethical and legal?
- Is it consistent with our values and policies?
- Is it something for which I am willing to be accountable?
Only after answering all of the questions are we ready to explore solutions. This is how we can listen and understand an issue without necessarily agreeing on its subtleties.
What I find exciting about my role as a Council Member is engaging with neighbors and residents on a variety of issues. I am always available to thoughtfully answer residents’ questions and have a conversation about the many facets of City issues. For many questions or suggestions offered, hardly anyone asks about the other side of the issue.
Several years ago at a neighborhood parade, I was struck by the observations of a high school history teacher, who said if you cannot describe the position opposite to your own, you do not know enough about the issue. What a powerful statement! This is how I live my professional, personal and City life.
I ask you, my neighbors, rather than relying on social media for answers to your concerns, consider reaching out City Council or visit the Montgomery website. Engage with your elected officials and let’s have a conversation about what is best for Montgomery. Next time you have a question or comment, seek out the answers on the Montgomery website, or scroll to Government and click on City Council, select a Council Member, and share your thoughts. You will receive a response!