Council has held it’s regular November and December meetings – the end of the calendar year always has a flurry of administrative work. On top of that the last few months have certainly noticed a significant uptick in community involvement and comments.
Ordinarily I would give an update on the recent committee appointments and updates on legislation we are working on (and I still will but in a future post – the work being done to craft updated property maintenance and nuisance property rules is worth keeping track of!).
What I want to address here first is clarify my approach to community and my role as a Council Member with a focus on communications and community involvement.
Rather than write an origin story about why I believe what I do I would rather level set on what I believe related to communications:
I believe being an elected representative is a privilege and the oath I took at the start of my office was solemn, and it included the promise to ‘fulfill the duties of the office to the best of my abilities.’
I believe that elected officials have a duty to listen to the people they represent in a respectful manner, especially when we disagree.
I believe asking sincere questions is not an act of defiance or disrespect, it builds shared understanding and collaboration.
I believe that seeking to understand first is more important than trying to be understood.
Why all this now? I have spent hours upon hours working trying to understand the perspectives of both other elected officials in Springdale as well as the questions and concerns residents have brought forward over a number of topics (from community center relocation, to building maintenance, budgets and fees schedules, to activity planning.)
At the December 7th Council meeting a resident spoke to Council about her experience trying to find answers about an issue they had. In the meeting prior they were heckled and essentially verbally assaulted while they had the floor at the meeting. This was not the first resident to share such an experience.
As long as I am on Council I will continue to respond to questions from residents, I swore an oath to do that. Listening and answering questions about what is going on at the City is never an intrusion.
I do want to mention four residents in particular that I have been so impressed with and recognize their contributions to the community under difficult circumstances:
Katie Wells and Raye Brabbs – thank you for starting an inclusive Facebook community page to improve community connections with a very open and positive communication style. I’ll be joining Facebook.
Kevin Haugh – thank you for asking very detailed and pointed questions about important public safety issues and community center policies while standing firm demanding more detail when little was originally provided.
Megan Chapman – thank you for coming back to the Council podium and sharing your experience trying to get answers about our community center. It is when people invest themselves and speak up that we all have the opportunity to reflect and improve.
If you have a question about the happenings or inner workings of the City, I’m here for it.
What do you think? Let your elected officials know!
email and phone numbers of all your City Council members are online – https://www.springdale.org/member-profiles.aspx
City Administration as well –