Wisdom Workout

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In the Home Stretch


By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

The current City Council race has captured my attention. The level of commitment and involvement required of all seven candidates is both impressive and daunting.

I’ve attended three of the forums and as a result, specific qualifications have surfaced that I consider necessary as I make my decision on the three people who will get my vote.

There is a distinction between leadership skills and management skills. I believe the ideal candidates need both.

A leader is someone whose direction and approach others are willing to follow. It has been interesting to watch a candidate borrow an answer that was delivered weeks before out of the mouth of another candidate. It shows a high level of intelligence in the ability to identify a solid answer when it is communicated, but it is disconcerting to hear it said again by someone other than the person who first delivered it.

The terms fresh and new seem to be popular, but I don’t hold ideas, whether old or new, as potent predictions of increased successful outcomes.

Ideas are valuable but merely the first step. Bringing a new idea to fruition requires a high degree of communication skill plus the clarity, discernment and vision to be able to see into the future to uncover and discover any unintended outcomes that need to be addressed and negotiated. Therefore, I am looking for those candidates that have both vision and the due diligence to be able to communicate in a way that encourages collaboration and engenders confidence in the expectation that the desired results are achievable.

Management skills are needed to achieve the objectives that the council sets out to accomplish and to continually improve on the performance of the duties that are under their charge. The ability to concentrate on the tasks, follow the rules and be in compliance with the regulations that govern the council and our city requires patience with protocol and mental and emotional discipline to handle the frustrations that are built-in to any institution that is governed by rules and regulations.

There is a saying that “managers do things right; leaders do the right thing.” Or to put it another way, managers concentrate on tasks, rules and compliance while leaders concentrate on people, principles and the overriding purpose of making viable decisions. The council members must perform as managers and leaders by collaborating with the other members, as well as negotiating agreements with other government agencies and institutions with their own special interests.

In the forums, the candidates have been encouraged to “take off the gloves” and confront each other and it has been pleasing to me to see them refrain from using overt invalidation. That tells me that these candidates are subjecting themselves to this grueling process out of a true desire to serve our community.

The fact that we have seven community members who have committed their time and energy in the hope of contributing to the future of our city is inspiring. It makes me appreciate each candidate. I like people who are willing to stand up and put themselves on the line.

I am also aware that this isn’t a popularity contest. The issues confronting our city are too important to make our choices casually.

I have made my choices after putting in the time and attention it has required to meet my criteria. My hope is that you will take your vote seriously enough to do the same.


Susan Velasquez is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com or [email protected]


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