This month, Dallas, Falls City, Independence and Monmouth will get new councilors — and a new mayor in Monmouth.
The changes in city councils is significant, and could change the entire feel of the city governmental bodies in Polk County.
It’s exciting to see so many people willing to serve their communities through sitting on the council, making policies and decisions that affect each citizen within their cities’ boundaries.
Welcome to politics!
Please remember that you are one of a group of councilors — one voice among six, or nine, depending on the city.
While you are eager to help your city be the best it can be, please leave your agendas at the door. Remember decisions you make will affect all equally.
Be considerate of city employees, but remember you do not work for them. They do valuable work and will try to achieve the goals you set — as an entire council, not as an individual — for your city, but ask questions.
That goes for other councilors and the mayor, too. A good, spirited discussion is always good for democracy, but that does not mean you have to agree — or disagree — with everyone.
In fact, it’s perfectly fine to have split votes. Don’t feel obligated to “go along” for the sake of looking united all the time. The council is more than one person. You are one voice: use it.
Not everyone will like what you do all the time — believe us, we know about this one — but you must make the tough decisions and stand for what you believe is best for all.
You may encounter people who are vocal about something, perhaps disagreeing with a choice, or perhaps in support of it.
Don’t let the voice of a few affect your decisions for the entire town.
Many of you spoke to residents of your town at length before getting elected to the office. Don’t stop talking to them now. Stay connected with the community and find out what’s working well and what needs to be changed.
Being new to the job doesn’t mean you have to hold back, but it might be wise to do your homework before you start plotting massive changes to systems or budgets.