Editorial: Elected officials need to show up | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Elected officials need to show up

In this March 22, 2019, file photo, a stone painted with the word “VOTE” rests on the window sill of an art gallery in Peterborough, N.H.

OK, prospective office holders. Let’s think about this.

You’re about to take a step toward holding a real responsibility. If you go through the primary process on Tuesday, you could win nomination and move on to the general election in the fall.

You could end up as a leader of your township or your borough, your school district or your county. That’s something important. It touches people’s lives. It makes a difference.

But it doesn’t work if you don’t step up and do your part.

Being an elected official is not something that starts with the primary and ends with the election. That’s just the prologue.

The real job is what happens after you take your oath. You show up — often for little or no money — and you do your job the way it is laid out by law. You listen. You make decisions. You represent the people whether they voted for you or not. But showing up is the key first step.

Monessen Mayor Matt Shorraw has not been to a council meeting in about a year. Elected in November 2017, his first official meeting would have been January 2018.

Shorraw claims he is protesting “the public corruption and white-collar crime” which he says has “dominated Monessen for decades.”

Fine. Protest it by resigning.

Government needs people to govern, and that means showing up.

State Rep. Justin Walsh, R-Rostraver, has introduced a bill that would permit the removal of a municipal elected official who didn’t attend more than half of a year’s scheduled meetings.

That seems fair. Don’t show up to work half the time and your boss will definitely want you gone. If your kid doesn’t go to school every other day, you will definitely hear from the principal.

Our communities need more people to get involved. More people have to participate, whether that means going to meetings and sitting in the cheap seats or holding a gavel and getting a vote. Too many slots on many municipal ballots are empty, leaving jobs undone or forcing governments to hire someone to do them.

What we need is more people who show up.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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