There is no more important safeguard with government that ensuring accountability to the citizen-taxpayers. In nearly every case, poor performance and actions outside the best interests of the citizenry from government employees can usually be traced to the example set by those in the top elected posts.
If the elected officials do not care about the public they govern, do not expect the government employees to care. In fact, under such circumstances, unaccountable officials are prone to pressure staffers into doing things that are dishonest to achieve an end.
If elected officials are unaccountable to their constituents, you can assume that neither ethics ordinances nor other behavioral mandates will keep them in line. The newspapers are full of stories on elected officials who caused havoc by acting outside of the will of the people.
Although citizens elect people to represent their interests, it is necessary for the citizens to remind the elected officials of their obligations. You can be certain that special interests who seek government favor are tugging at the elected officials continuously.
In our county government, the “citizens” are in the top box of our government organizational chart. The elected officials and the administrative staff should act accordingly.
Most people would believe that having to answer to someone for your actions or your choices would make you think more carefully about whether or not you are doing the right thing. In reality, it does not work that way.
It is very important to remember that actions really do speak louder than words. Campaign promises and all the other rhetoric is many times not matching the actions of the official. Do not fall for the rhetoric.
In Fayette County we are blessed to have a citizen base who will go look up past meeting minutes and verify government claims. They will go back and look up the promises made during the campaigns.
Please keep coming to the government meetings, never take anything at face value and when the time comes, please speak up and vote for the people who are truly acting in your interest.
I ran on a platform of term limits and I will keep that promise, so I have one and one-half years remaining. I have never been concerned about standing alone in the government setting as long as I am following the will of the citizens and being accountable to my constituents.
I have witnessed some things in local government that have turned my stomach and made me just want to give up. What has kept me going is a strong cadre of local citizens who are not afraid to push back along with some government employees who are ethical and committed to doing their best, sometimes in spite of the leadership.
Personally, I have little patience for the antics of those in government who think they supersede the authority and accountability of the people who put them in office. You should not tolerate it either.
Steve Brown, Commissioner
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.