Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Next Mayor

Having now experienced first hand all aspects of politics—as a candidate, and now as an elected official—I have come to understand the difficulty in overcoming those traits necessary to win elective office that become obstacles to effective governance.

As candidates you speak in terms of your actions determining outcomes. You speak of issues on which you will not compromise. You have solutions to every problem. Once elected you face the realization that you must work with others-some looking for different outcomes; having limited options to achieve the outcomes you want because you have taken positions that eliminate the possibility of compromise. And solutions that during the campaign had to fit on a 3” x 5” palm card now make you wince.

With this realization a decision is made. To continue the “campaign” into elective office whereby you continue the rhetoric and blame others for the failure to achieve the outcomes you want; or you take the hit to your ego, and begin the work necessary to build consensus to move towards achieving the outcomes on which you ran.

You do not have to agree with a position but you must understand it. You must be able to take criticism and understand that if addressed it could lead to better solutions. There will be a point where a vote will be taken. The outcome of that vote should not affect how you work with your colleagues in preparing for the next one.

This May we will elect a Mayor from two candidates who are completing their first terms on City Council. Over the past four years I have had, and will continue to have disagreements with them on issues facing the city. Both worked for my opponent during my last reelection campaign. For me the determining factor in my decision to support one over the other is not based on past actions. It is not based on issues but rather on how they approach them.

Since his election as Mayor Dr. Tomzak has tried to work with all members of the City Council. He makes an effort to build consensus through dialogue and willingness to compromise. On those issues where consensus is not achieved he is respectful of opposing positions and is prepared to make clear his own views in a collegial manner.

Whether the vote has gone his way or not Dr. Tomzak understands that maintaining a good relationships with members of the Council is crucial if we are to be successful in overcoming the challenges we face. And while we do not always agree on the course the City should take there is no question that Dr. Tomzak decisions are based on what he feels are in the best interest of the city.

Dr Tomzak has made the transition from candidate to elected official and avoided the pitfall of maintaining a “campaign approach” to the important issues facing the city. He wants to work towards solutions-- not the next campaign issue. I urge city residents to reelect Dr. Tomzak as Mayor of Fredericksburg.

1 comment:

Larry Gross said...

just wanted to thank you for your honest and thoughtful words about governance that I find refreshing and, to be honest, leave me wishing more guys (and gals) like you were in elective office in our region.

You have one of the tougher and more thankless jobs one can imagine and it takes guts and fortitude to stick with it and do the work necessary for solutions.