It’s important for everyone to be on the same page

When two groups don’t spend much time interacting with each other, it’s difficult for everyone to be on the same page.

A lack of interaction between Whitley County Commissioners and the Whitley County Council is one such example from our observations. One group makes a decision expecting the other group to agree — but they don’t always see eye to eye.

We aren’t saying the situation is anyone’s fault. We aren’t saying we have the solution. But we are saying that the commissioners and council members should explore ways to increase communication between the two elected bodies of government.

This past year offered several examples of communication breakdown. In many cases, Whitley County Commissioners made a decision, or offered a “favorable pass” to the council, only to have the council to unexpectedly vote against the decision.

These situations have created turmoil among all involved. One group isn’t right or wrong, but neither has clearly communicated the reason for their decisions. The council members do not need to always agree with the commissioners, but the commissioners should have a good expectation of what council members will decide based on previously shared information and open dialog.

The Commissioners meet the first and third Mondays in the afternoon. Council meets on the first Tuesday after the first Monday, in the morning.

One can almost always find at least one of the three Commissioners in their offices any day throughout the week, but that’s not typically the case for the seven county councilmen, some of which don’t spend much time at county facilities outside of the monthly meetings.

The issue lies when the Commissioners, who spend substantial time at the county offices, become frustrated with councilmen who shoot down projects, ideas and salary raises – all decisions that took time to research and understand.

Councilmen hold the purse strings on all financial decisions and the Commissioners are the executive branch of county government, with the authority to pass ordinances, control county property and supervise.

For a smooth-functioning government, it is necessary for these entities to work together. Neither is right or wrong — we believe all have the best interest of their constituents at heart — but we hope someone takes the lead in facilitating better communication so that those affected by the final decisions know what to expect.

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