Tonight was my last meeting as a councilman for the Village of Orwell. Unless there's an emergency. Thus ends an era in my life.
So what things have I learned? Patience. Lots and lots of patience. Nine times out of ten whatever the rumor is, it's completely wrong. That last one out of ten, just 90% wrong. If someone in government is found embezzling funds, lots of people have to have screwed up. Government accounting is the weirdest contraption know to modern accounting. Most people's conception of government and how it works is completely backassward and incomplete.
I've been involved in most aspects of the local government. I was liaison for Parks, BOPA (water), and backup liaison for SCAD (our ambulance service) and a few other things. Served on Streets and Lands and Buildings, Finance, and have been chairman of Streets/LB and Safety. I've been involved with the purchase of most of the vehicles the village currently uses. I've hired seven people, fired/let go two. And I have missed approximately 8 meetings that whole time (most of them over the past two summers because of classes). Pushed legislation, fixed legislation, helped get legislation passed.
All in all, I guess it was worth it.
In that time I've missed family events, missed writer events, and generally have had the wind constantly knocked out of my sails. Just when I think I would get my feet under me, something would come along and require more attention than things really should take. I would be into the rhythm of writing, and then some temporary crisis would arise that would take my time and attention.
No more. Now I can have my life interrupted by the normal things. You know, things that other writers friends have already dealt with and have tips of how to overcome. Have I mentioned how much this council thing sucked away my time and brain?
Would I recommend getting involved with your government? Yes. Citizens getting involved is what it's all about. Plus, you'll never know what you'll learn about the process. I've loved a lot of it. The people involved wiht our local government are hard working and do this work because they feel responsible for the village. It's been my great pleasure to have worked with them. I've learned more about my community that I ever would have other wise (and it's not like I wasn't involved before, being a member of the planning commission and a director in Ruritans (or local service club).
But, okay, I've done my bit for king and country. Actually, this is my second go at that well. It's time for others to step up to the plate.