Valdosta Daily Times

December 28, 2012

Taking the oath of office

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Newly elected and re-elected officials were sworn into office Thursday, preparing to step into their roles at the first of the year.

For some, the roles are familiar and they are well versed in the duties and responsibilities that come with the position they’ve sought. For others, this is their first elected position and they have a steep learning curve ahead. The rules are different for elected officials — a large degree of personal privacy is sacrificed — and being accountable to taxpayers is not always easy as tough decisions must be made that often make citizens angry.

As outgoing county chairman Ashley Paulk stated in a recent interview, “In politics, there is no such thing as 100 percent of the vote. Even if you run unopposed, someone will always write in a name.”

In other words, you can’t make everyone happy. All elected officials can do is seek wise counsel and act accordingly, within the confines of the law. Be as transparent in making decisions as possible to educate the citizenry, be accessible to those who need your assistance, but remember that for every favor you do, you are doing someone else a disfavor.

For the incumbents, bless you for seeking office again and good luck as you continue your journey. For the newly elected, trust in those who are paid to do the government’s work every day and learn all you can. And for the public, give the new officials some time to become acclimated to their positions before you begin passing judgment.