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  • Last modified 33 days ago (March 23, 2017)

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Growing pains

If you’ve read our front-page story on the matter, you know that there was a bit of a tiff at Monday’s county commission meeting, and if you’ve paid much attention at all, you, like me, saw this one coming.

If there was one thing central to Dianne Novak’s campaign, it was that she represented new blood that would chart an independent course. She’s worked hard to do just that.

But we see it in toddlers, we see it in junior highers, and we see it in high school graduates: Disagreement and conflict go hand-in-hand with becoming independent.

Toddlers are brilliant at it. Everyone who’s ever been around toddlers knows that “No!” becomes a standard part of their vocabularies. “No” for a toddler is shorthand for, “I’m not going to do that because I’m going to make my own independent decision about that.”

And we know toddlerhood can be one of the more adventurous times of parenthood, but the kids grew up, and we lived through it.

Every commission, or committee, or coucil goes through growing pains when new members come on board, and no one, least of all commissioners themselves, should overreact. Learning to disagree without being disagreeable should be an ongoing goal.

But so is learning how to work as a team. Randy Dallke’s point about not acting with independent authority is a good one. He’s been around long enough to know that the old adage “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile” is true.

Garry Dunnegan did that last year with an unauthorized dock at a county lake property; burned once, Dallke’s reaction was reasonable, and it applies across the board. Commissioners do best when they listen, then bring back information and proposals to their colleagues and department heads for vetting and buy-in. Independence doesn’t have to mean going it alone; it can just as easily mean taking the lead in building consensus.

-- David colburn

Last modified March 23, 2017

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