03/31/04 — Stepping aside: Demands on commissioners too great for person with job

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Stepping aside: Demands on commissioners too great for person with job

It is unfortunate that the demands on members of governing bodies are so great that many qualified people are prohibited from serving. The resignation of Ken Gerrard from the Wayne County Board of Commissioners brings this to mind.

Gerrard resigned even though he had but eight months left in his term. There was no way, he said, that he could continue to divide his time between county duties, his family and his business.

Gerrard has three small sons. The heating and air conditioning business in which he is a partner is entering its busiest season.

There is more to being a commissioner than merely attending the meetings. Considerable work and reading are needed throughout the month to keep abreast of the issues involved in the opportunities and problems that face the county. Members are also asked to represent the commissioners on other boards, such as the Economic Development Commission and Transportation Advisory Commission.

Done right, it is a time-consuming job.

Fortunately, most members of the current Board of Commissioners are willing to give the county that time. But of the six left, all but one is retired, and they have more time for county work than a working person could spare. The remaining commissioner who is not retired, lumberman Arnold Flowers, has announced that he will not run for re-election in District 5.

It is important for the county to have the advantage of the experience that retirees can bring to the board. That is shown in the wisdom and background knowledge of some of the current board members.

At the same time, however, the board needs the views and the energy of youth. It needs the influence of people who have their lives and careers ahead of them, especially those who, like Gerrard, intend to live out their lives in Wayne.

Gerrard has been a voice of youth and vision since he joined the board as the District 6 commissioner eight years ago. That voice will be missed.

Published in Editorials on March 31, 2004 11:25 AM