Local treasures: our public servants
The Lakeville Journal Editorial
It’s not easy serving in public office. Ask anyone who has done it, if you yourself haven’t, from a student class president to a U.S. senator. They serve many different constituents who often cannot come to agreement among themselves on just about any issue, making it that much harder to please them all at any time. It’s got to be more about acceptable compromise, which is certainly next to impossible in the current toxic, polarized political climate.
Yet so far, there have still been good people who step up to serve in Connecticut at the local, state and federal levels of government. Here’s hoping we can all agree on this: Having citizens willing to serve all their constituents, not just those in their political party, is critically important for our democracy.
Now is a good time to consider our current legislators at all levels of government, with the November elections closer than we think. Our municipalities will elect their selectmen, and all the other elected officers on the slate, and each position is as important to the functioning of the towns as the next. With so many controversies surrounding housing and land use, the planning boards in each town will have their hands full in the terms to come. So will the school boards in every town, as well as Region One’s.
Town clerks are elected in some towns, appointed in others, but their duties are among the most important to the day to day operations for any town. They are the public information officers who serve as liaisons between local government and the public, according to the ct.gov website. They are responsible for public records, vital statistics and licensing. They have certain significant duties in reference to elections, and registrars of voters are responsible for others. Town clerks are bound to abide by the regulations defined by the state Freedom of Information Act, and must be aware of the way the act affects the release of public records. Also in accordance with Freedom of Information Act requirements, they must post meeting notices for local government bodies. And of course, they issue all types of licenses, including marriage, liquor, hunting, fishing, dog and trapping. And much more.
Be aware of what your elected officials do for your town, state and country before you vote in November. This year, The Lakeville Journal Company is applying for nonprofit status, and if that is approved before November, this will be the first election cycle in this ownership’s memory that there will not be political endorsements in this space. That is a requirement of media that are 501(c)3 nonprofits, that they not take a stand for one side or the other in elections.
We will have profiles of candidates, as always, and encourage all our readers to educate themselves on the issues and vote. We just won’t suggest to you whom we believe the best candidate to be. But don’t take that to mean we don’t care. There is nothing of more importance to our democracy, as noted, than having our fellow citizens being willing to serve to the best of their ability.
So thank you to all those who are now serving in office, and to those who are considering doing it. We wish you well in a tough time and will continue to inform our readers of the activity at the local level of government in all the Region One towns.