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Good communicators: Better local leaders

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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, July 19, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.”

— Otto von Bismarck

1860s German statesman.

Borough, township and school district elected leaders do not necessarily enact laws in the commonly held sense, but they do attend to the public's business in all cases before them.

And Bismarck's quote applies.

Ford City Council member Jerry Miklos is a case in point. He pretty much is willing to take his colleagues and others to task over anything they suggest, challenging all by asking open-end questions instead of offering alternative solutions. His fellow council members should ask him for specific suggestions

But challenges, such as those offered by Mr. Miklos in Ford City, are the necessary pains of governing — as long as arguments remain civil and the ultimate goal is to make our boroughs, townships and schools run more efficiently.

Unfortunately, there is only one recourse when matters become heated before public bodies, and that is a president or chairman who uses his gavel unsparingly.

Leadership that fosters creative discussion is a must as our governing boards take on the challenges of cutting costs. Learning to speak calmly and explaining themselves to taxpayers will help. Too often leaders speak under the assumption that all listening will know the background of the topic — and many may not.

It's better to be answerable to the public by learning the finer points of communication.

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