If I know anything, I know there is no such thing as perfect. No one is perfect, no place is perfect, and no leadership is perfect. But I do believe public service is about striving for a higher quality of life for ourselves and our community. If change could happen overnight, tomorrow I’d wake up to the following:
Fair compensation for Emergency Medical Service workers
EMS personnel are generally underpaid and the system is being pushed to the brink without a genuine desire to increase wages and improve working conditions. The industry loses providers at an average of 5% annually with an unequal ratio of new providers and attrition. It is important to maintain an adequately staffed EMS agency to complement a fire and police department that ensures our residents are protected in their time of need.
A robust Police Academy
Police work is increasingly difficult in a world where the industry is consistently scrutinized with citizens ready to record encounters with law enforcement. The ability to recruit and retain is becoming a challenge as many individuals are hesitant to enter a world where the potential of a dangerous situation is looming at a minute’s notice. Departments and their leaders are now required to creatively find ways to recruit and retain the most qualified people to protect our constituents and maintain a safe and prosperous environment.
Less Opioids and more Basketball in our parks
I love basketball, my kids love basketball, so that is a selfish one. However, the National League of Cities reported in early 2019 that Parks and Recreation was the number one subtopic of interest in the Northeast Region. 46% of all speeches by American Mayors last year were about Health & Human Services, 63% of those were focused on Parks while only 11% were focused on Opioids. That same year, the city of Bethlehem added the overdose-reversing drug, naloxone, to its fire department’s engines, resulting in 15 lives saved while waiting for the arrival of EMS to a scene. We need to talk more about opioids to normalize it for those who need help, offer more naloxone to public safety workers… and then, we can talk more about basketball in our parks.
There would be no question of transparency in government work
I am not suggesting that we’re all hiding something, but I am recommending that we do more to assist civilians’ fundamental rights to access information. Every new policy should be easy for the public to understand, and dated policies should be reviewed and/or communicated by an expert in that department via low-cost digital platforms like the website or a quick video shared on social media. It’s important to Partner with a Government class at the local public high school and ask the students to explain the policies. It’s a good exercise for the students, and with small guidance from an adult in the administration, the students can likely make more formal terms easier for most to understand. Doing so will make an administration more transparent and accountable for the rights of the communities it serves.
Perfection is not attainable, but if individuals with influence and public servants at least think of what a perfect world could look like in their community, perhaps we can land somewhere very close-by and attain excellence.