As a natural consequence of having a sometimes-recognizable name, I'm often asked if I'd consider running for office.
Not a chance, ever, I always respond. I couldn't get elected. My memory is too poor for me to be a good liar, and I'm far too inclined to be blunt when what constituents usually want is diplomacy.
Regarding the recent citizen complaints about the county's transfer of the Euchee Creek Library manager, county commissioners could have used a little more blunt and a little less diplomacy.
Yeah, I know. Citizens equate bluntness with arrogance - at least, they do when they disagree with it. But in this case, it was pretty clear a large number of Euchee Creek patrons didn't want John Welch to be transferred, period. County officials weren't going to win them over with anything other than a total reversal, and that wasn't going to happen.
From the beginning, they knew there wasn't going to be a compromise. They should have just said so. Bluntly.
When those patrons showed up at last week's county commission meeting, spokesman appointed and petitions in hand, commissioners should have said:
"Look: The former director of Columbia County's libraries, Christina Rice, was very hands-off. She let John Welch run the Euchee Creek Library and pretty much stayed out of it for his first 14 years.
"But she's been gone for nearly two years, and Welch has had a new boss since then. Mary-Lin Maner is far more hands-on. She wanted Welch to do things differently, and after all this time it became pretty clear that he wasn't going to do things the way she wanted them done.
"You know what? We hired her to run the libraries, and if she doesn't think any of her staff members are up to the job, it's up to her to make changes. He's the employee; either he accepts it or he's free to look for another job.
"We're glad you like him. We hope you like his replacement even better. But he's gone. Get over it already. Next item."
Instead, they were diplomatic and patient, even though they had no intention whatsoever of changing their minds. When that didn't happen, those patrons were no happier than they were to start with.
Would they have been happier if the commissioners had been frank with them, and made it clear they'd already talked the issue to death and were moving on?
Probably not. But at least no one would be under the illusion that anything was going to be done differently.
If anything good could come out of this, perhaps it would be a step toward understanding that in a properly run local government, constituents elect representatives whom we expect to hire good people to make things work the way they're supposed to work, and then stay out of their way unless there's a problem.
We've come a long way from the days when we elected commissioners who meddled and micromanaged every aspect of government. I sure don't want to go back.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death Sunday of Barbara Beazley.
She was well-known professionally in the community because of the real estate and home-construction business she operated with her husband, Bill, and son Stephen.
But there are hundreds of people who have benefited from her efforts, many of them likely without knowing her name. They are the kids who have been helped by the Columbia County Foundation for Children.
Mrs. Beazley was shy when it came to publicity about the organization, always preferring that someone else took the spotlight. But everyone knew it existed because of her love for -the least of these," as Jesus referred to children.
They, and our community, benefited greatly from her presence.
Mrs. Beazley's memory would properly be honored with contributions to the foundation, at 7009 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans, 30809.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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