02/12/08 — Leadership hunt: Local officials are looking to the next generation

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Leadership hunt: Local officials are looking to the next generation

Wayne County commissioner Atlas Price has decided he has had enough of politics for now.

The longtime commissioner will give up his seat this year after nearly 30 years of serving his county in a variety of capacities.

His goal now will be to spend more time with his family — and, maybe, relax a little.

It is likely that Price — who has been an advocate for the county for so long he probably doesn’t remember the last time he did not have a meeting to attend — will not be able to stay silent long.

He has already promised to keep after the county commission he leaves behind as well as anyone else charged with doing the people’s business.

His service to his community has been appreciated.

But Price decided to leave another message as he announced his decision this past week.

He joined the voices of other longtime leaders in Wayne County who are wondering who will step up to take over the job he and generations of others have begun.

He is challenging those from the younger generation to offer their services on the county’s boards and public bodies.

It is time for some new ideas, some new perspective and some new priorities as the county moves forward into the next 50 years, and he hopes that there will be a new crop of leaders to direct the progress.

And he is not alone. Mayor Ray McDonald in Mount Olive said the same thing — right before he agreed to be mayor one last time. He announced that he would do the job, but that he would be on the prowl for the next mayor, the next leader, for his community.

And that is the same call that is being heard all across this community.

The leaders from the past have served well and have done much, but many of them are ready to do something else for a while. They want to be able to pass on the job of caring for this county’s future to the people who will benefit from it later. They want to help train a new crop of leaders.

There is a need for new members in not only public life, but in the volunteer corps as well. Many local organizations say they need more people to get involved to keep their good works going.

So, it is time for the next generation to answer the call.

There are many people out there with much to contribute. Now is the time for them to step up and take the reins — to make time for their community, too.

It will be exciting to see what kind of future they can create.

Published in Editorials on February 12, 2008 12:40 PM