I was able to attend the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference in Rochester last month as a representative of the City of Columbia Heights. (In case some people are keeping records, the city paid for my convention cost, $99, but I paid for all other expenses: cost of hotel room, transportation to and from the convention, and any additional meal expenses.)
The keynote speaker was David Horsager, author of the Trust Edge. (Excellent speaker!) Overall trust in government is at 29% (Pew Research 2011). That is a sad note when everything, quality of business, employees, customers is based on trust. As government, we have lost the trust of our customers (local citizens). We need to gain that trust back.
With the loss of trust comes an unrest, a sense of loss, and loss in overall respect. As elected officials, it is our duty to rebuild that trust. What was lost takes time to rebuild. Any mistake may take years to regain the trust of local citizens.
Keep me accountable. I do not have all the answers and I am not all knowing. I can not accurately predict the future. Mistakes will be made and have been made in the past. But I will do my best to serve this community and help earn your trust as my term continues.
Even though I think 29% trust in government is appalling, a year ago it was sitting at 22%. Some strides have been made. There needs to be much more. I don’t think we will ever get back to what people felt in the Kennedy/Johnson years, 68%, but as regular citizens become more involved in local government we will see a change.
I need your input, your suggestions, your insight when decisions need to be made at the council level. I need feedback to make sure that I stay focused.
If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your patience and thank you for your support. See you around town!
Donna Schmitt, Columbia Heights City Council