Leadership in any position carries with it responsibility no matter the position, no matter the organization, people depend on the leadership skills of those in charge to set direction and make decisions that will impact the group. When leadership fails or falters the echo reverberates throughout the organization.
Elected government leaders hold a special responsibility, it is one of trust. They have been placed in office with a valued piece of our culture, the right of the people to vote. The voters have bestowed an honor, and burden of responsibility that should be held in the highest regard by those chosen to serve.
In government at all levels there is a special obligation resting on the shoulders of leadership. It is an obligation to speak for and to protect the people they represent, to speak for those that can not or those that fear the podium. Too often individual bias, special interests, and political posturing destroy the voice of reason in government.
Government leaders are human and prone to error like all of us but that is not an excuse for consistent failures of leadership or abdication of responsibility. It happens at all levels government but it is most apparent on the local level because we are able to closely observe the process.
We have seen in Coventry the government attempt to take land from a citizen because they can, only to have a single elected leader question the process and restore the land to the owner. Not because they were friends, they have never met each other, but because it was the right thing to do. Sometime we may all need a voice and we may all need protection from government. That is a responsibility of those we elect.
Passing the torch of primary responsibility to others is not leadership it is avoidance and an abdication of the role you were elected to perform. The Coventry Board of Education is currently considering their role in reviewing and approving curriculum. That is a key responsibility of that Board as elected leaders. If any member is unwilling to take an active meaningful role in curriculum development and review they should not run for re-election they should resign now and get out of the way for the good of our educational system.
The parents and children of Coventry deserve better. The voters have entrusted the Board of Education with a most prized asset, our future generation. The key to success is a good foundation and education is the keystone upon which our children build their future. To abdicate their responsibility as leaders on behalf of the parents and community to protect our next generation is unconscionable.
One Board member Mr. Gene Marchand was not elected and given the trust of the voters he was appointed by the Democratic leadership to serve on the Board. In his own words at the meeting of May 26, while discussing this issue he said, “Frankly I think the time commitment could be overwhelming”. That may be true for Mr. Marchand and if it is the Democratic leadership put their trust in the wrong person for the job.
It takes a serious commitment of time and effort to serve on the Board of Education or the Town Council and the decision to run for the office should not be taken casually. The citizens of Coventry deserve dedicated leaders able to commit full effort to the role of government they accept when elected. The voters of today expect that commitment and the generations of tomorrow are depending on it, to give less is a disservice to your friends, neighbors and community.