Who “Owns” the Place?

Dear Neighbors,

Good news! YOU are the proud “Owners” of the Town of Lake Park, Florida!

[cheers…applause]

See, it says so right here! YOU (Citizens of Lake Park) are at the top of the heap right here on the official Lake Park Town Organizational Chart (found on page 23 of that snitch of a document we got to know last week called the Town of Lake Park Complete Adopted Budget Fy 10/11 Whew!) I told you that you should check it out!

“So what?” you say?

Come, come… You’re a BIG WIG! You’re the TOP DOG! When was the last time you went to your computer and found it written right there in black and white that you “own the place.”

I say, “It’s time to PAR-TAY!” Yeah, I’m pretty happy about this, and do you know why? Because that means that I have a right to check up on my employees and expect a few things of them, doesn’t it?

“Uh, uh, uh! Hold up just a minute there, my friend! Not so fast… that is not technically true.”

Saying WE have the RIGHT is actually inaccurate. (As usual, the premise is wrong.) That’s the kind of thinking that gets us in trouble. The fact is that when you are at the top of the chart, YOU are in charge; YOU wield the wallet. You grant limited authorization to those in your employ to handle certain responsibilities. You are not granted rights by the Town Manager, the Mayor or the Commissioners (no, not even the Code Officer). They hold no power over you unless you hand it to them and walk away to go take yourself a long nap. They actually answer to you. You answer to the law.

The powers we grant to our government are limited. We have more of that power than we realize. We call the shots with our votes, and with our eagle eyes, our voices and our presence we are expected to keep it in check. Our elected leaders have sworn to uphold the law of the constitution, whereby their powers are itemized to a “T”.  They are to represent us. “We, the people” and “I, the individual” trump “they, the government”, and no where in government is this model more practical than at the town level.

Hmmm. Why then, if we are at the top of the chart, don’t we act like it?  Why don’t we offer our “employees” our insight and support where needed. Why don’t we BOLDLY find out what our town is involved in? If we ask for answers and administrators confound us with resolutions, ordinances and legal jargon, why do we slink away? Why do we hesitate to call them out when we see something amiss? If we feel the town is inappropriately spending our money or improperly creating or following procedures, why aren’t we demanding an account and with authority?  Why don’t we follow up with rebuttal when they evade or explain things away? What kind of leader does that and expects to maintain a thriving business? We are the leaders. Lake Park is our business.

Tell me, how is this place of ours doing these days? Did we entrust the run of the place and the keys of the safe to someone “credentialed and experienced” and then walk away trusting it would all be there when our nap was over? Does that ever work out well in any facet of life? Why would we expect it to work out in Lake Park?

How about this: Let’s act in accordance with our place at the top of the chart and do a better job of watching over our “employees” and helping them when needed. If we do so with respect, and hold ourselves and them to the highest of standards for the sake of ourselves and our town, we’ll all have a lot better chance of reaping the rewards of a thriving, enjoyable and prosperous place to live and work.

This is where our little piece of the American dream resides. Let’s live the dream by being responsible for what is ours, and by watching over it with care.

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