EDITORIAL: Leadership begins with being there

Real baseball fans remember Cal Ripkin Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles. He won’t go down in history as the greatest hitter or even as a top shortstop. Instead he is known for having played in 2,632 consecutive games. Ripkin made baseball history by simply coming to work every day.

When the City Council’s budget workshop convened last Saturday morning — well, the meeting didn’t actually convene — there weren’t enough elected officials present to call the meeting to order.  It will have to be rescheduled.

It’s not the end of the world. Budget workshops can be postponed and everyone can find something else to do on a Saturday morning. But, this was an official government meeting and it was about a very important issue: how your tax dollars will be spent to run the City and exactly how much it will take to provide the delivery of needed services.

Oops, was that today?

In government, every decision sends a message. This past election was to be the revolution. At least that was the word on the street. And there was no reason to doubt it since there were many candidates in every city council race and the campaign messages clearly declared that something was wrong, and the solution was to change the political landscape and bring in new leadership. The voters responded as we thought they would, and no incumbent was re-elected. Whether you call it a mandate or a strong political message delivered or a fruit basket turnover, one thing was clear—the voters wanted to try a new direction.

That’s why it seemed a little disappointing and anti-climactic to see such an important issue as the budget be pushed to another day. The new mayor, Jamie Williamson, was there along with City Council members Vicki Brewer and Wendell McLeod.

Those who did not attend were Sammy Pruett and one-year council veterans Mike Crane and Byron Tippie. Their absences didn’t send a message that the budget was important or that all City Council members take their jobs seriously and plan to work hard to make this community a better place.

Some do, some don’t

The three elected officials in attendance — Williamson, Brewer and McLeod — have so far been the only three members of the Council to attend training sponsored by the Texas Municipal League regarding the correct way to conduct the proper business of a city.

Although the others completed a required online training, taking the commitment a step further and spending time as a participant in live training shows the beginnings of leadership. Seeking knowledge is a good thing.

Liberty Hill has always had folks who meant well, who cared about the community and its future. However, some haven’t utilized all of the resources available to them to understand more about compliance with state laws and how to govern.

The fact is that Liberty Hill can’t tolerate another natural-born city council. The issues are too serious, the population is changing fast and the future demands too much for our leaders to make fly-by-night decisions without seeking to learn all they can about the proper way to run a government. To avoid missteps, potential conflicts of interest and lawsuits galore, every public official should avail themselves of all of the training and learning experiences possible.

 High Expectations

The voters expect something special from this Council. Not just from accumulated knowledge, but a different mindset toward governance and leadership. The expectations are high, and to whom much is given, much is required.