29 Mar My Commitment to Public Service
“According to scripture, virtually everything that truly qualifies a person for leadership is directly related to character.”- John MacArthur
Politics can certainly be rough business. But it doesn’t have to be. So much of that can be determined by the people we elect to office. The way I see it, there are three types of people on any ballot, anywhere, including Baldwin County. The description fits fairly accurately if you really think about it.
The elected official is a character who loves his position and the perks that accompany the rank and title of being elected to office and finds a way to score plenty of “free meals.” The politician enjoys the power, and tells you everything he thinks you want to hear, but in reality, he is the government’s representative to the people. Lastly, the public servant is the people’s representative to their government and takes more of a problem-solving approach to governance.
I like the fact that Baldwin County elects all four of our commissioners at-large, giving each one of us the responsibility to work for the entire County, rather than getting in an arm-wrestling match between different areas — pitting the Eastern Shore against the Beach, or the North End of the County against the 59 Corridor. It is a ‘political’ position because we are elected to the Commission, but I believe that is where the ‘political’ portion of the job should end. Our job is more about managing the business of the County than politics. The Commission maintains roads and bridges, picks up trash, manages the landfill, prepares for emergencies, works with planning and zoning, operates BRATS buses, maintains and improves parks, and budgets for other elected official’s department operations including the Sheriff, Judge of Probate, and Revenue Commissioner. Having the ability to work together is crucial to the success of this job. As your Commissioner, I will continue to strive for collaboration and partnerships with all levels of government and organizations to work to move Baldwin County forward to a better quality of life for all of us.
I also believe that honest and transparent government is a key component to proper public service. Since you first elected me, the County checkbook, budget, contracts, policies, salary levels, job openings and audits are available to view online. We’ve moved the Commission Work Session meetings around to different County facilities each month to make us more accessible to the public. Some candidates have proposed moving the formal meeting, but state law requires it to be held in the County Seat. However, we created “Open Baldwin” on our website, www.baldwincountyal.gov, to live stream our formal meeting so anyone can watch it from anywhere. We have improved the access to all of our meeting recordings online, and the exact agenda details and information for each meeting. We keep extremely detailed minutes online for you by having a court reporter at every meeting. (The only exception is the department head meeting, a general business management meeting, where our administration team records and posts minutes.) I invite you to attend any and every meeting. I appreciate the trust you have placed in me, and I believe you should know my logic and reasoning behind all significant decisions on the Commission. I am always accessible to discuss County business with individuals, service clubs, other organizations, and the press.
My definition of “public service” is to serve the people of Baldwin County honestly, allowing for open
debate and transparency, always with the goal of improving our quality of life by collectively working to solve problems and creating opportunities for our families and neighbors. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I am grateful for the privilege you have given me to do this work that I enjoy.