One of the unfortunate issues confronting us is the attitude by some elected officials that the public can’t be trusted to make the right decisions, or at least that is the impression I get from their public attitude related towards public participation.
Here in Thurston County we have a political drama being played out regarding property rights and the Critical Areas Ordinance, a law that is up for review. The ordinance itself is designed to protect habitat for certain species, one of which is our local gopher.
One significant problem is the questionable science behind this effort by the government, but what is irksome is that when the public has attempted to point this out they have been shut down. Those in control don’t seem to realize that the simple of act of keeping the lines of communication open is in their best interest as well as the public’s.
One of the best examples of successful communications is a company many are affected by but few of us know. That would be Lincoln Electric, manufactures of welding equipment. Lincoln Electric has set the standards for welding worldwide over the years of its existence. Beginning in the 1930s the company began bringing its employees together regularly to discuss internal issues. If an employee has found a way to do things better, then the company discusses the issue and they give it a try. The impact has been one where most employees feel they are a contributor to the company’s success.
Very seldom does this happen in politics. There are a few places in our nation where this kind of give and take is a practice. Brookline, Massachusetts is one of the largest towns in the nations that uses a form of the town hall meeting to discuss and handle local issues. Twice a year 250 of the town’s representatives come together to vote on the budget. Just imagine what it would be like if you could get 250 people in one place to discuss and vote on issues facing your community’s.
Keeping people involved in the decision making process helps to build confidence in the final decision.
BY the way you can find out more about Lincoln Electric on the web. The nation's business schools have done a number of studies on the company. You can buy the company’s books that outline their methods on the web site https://ssl.lincolnelectric.com/foundation/store.asp?PID=16&cat=8 for $5. May I suggest that interested readers begin with the title A New Approach to Industrial Economics.
And by the way Lincoln Electric pays out some of the best bonuses for working people in the nation. Their methods have worked for both the investors and the employees. Two way communications is beneficial to all.
End; MHW 9/1/2011