David Rodeback's Blog

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Notes on Professionalism in American Fork City Government

Two quick observations about the spread of professionalism in American Fork City goverment.

Two quick notes:

First, there is progress. As I began to be involved in American Fork City government and politics some years ago, I soon learned that the official (elected or otherwise) who would return a phone call or answer an e-mail -- from me, at least -- was the exception, not the rule. Even when I was contacting senior staff or officials with the stated intent of giving the City money (from the American Fork Community Foundation), the typical response was silence. At first this surprised me. Then, I suppose, it angered me. Later I came to regard this lack of professionalism with a mix of frustration and resignation. I don't actually blame the former mayor for the situation as much as I blame the small-time, good-old-boy politics which tend to prevail in small towns, and which reportedly have been the rule in American Fork since long before I arrived as a resident. One of my fondest hopes for the new Heber Thompson administration is that it will take great strides away from that level of politics. A small but growing city in the 21st century deserves better . . . Which brings me to my point. Some days ago I sent an e-mail to the new Mayor, a substantive note on a matter of concern. He replied to my e-mail! On its face this is not terribly newsworthy, but in context it seems to be on the same journalistic level as "man bites dog." There is hope!

Second, by way of contrast, last week provided some clear evidence that it will take some time to impart the new expectation of professionalism and civility to some City officials. This is cause for some embarrassment on residents' part, but it is unsurprising. I, at least, never thought the change would be immediate or easy.

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