03/02/08 — Sample questions: Candidates should know they're applying for a tough job

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Sample questions: Candidates should know they're applying for a tough job

At long last, and boy has it seemed like an eternity, the filing period for the November general election is over.

And in the end, it looks there will need to be two ballots to hold all the names of those who think they have the right stuff to represent this county in the coming year and beyond.

And, as always, the air is a little heavy with challengers who have bones to pick with incumbents and current officeholders who dismiss change for change sake.

Rest assured, there will be plenty more of that as the months roll by and the election gets nearer and nearer.

So, let’s start with some priority lists — and some basic questions for those who think they have what it takes to be a school board member or a county commissioner in this county.

Consider it an application of sorts.

• Are you able to set your ego aside at the door and really move forward on plans for this community’s future without regard to your own personal needs or those of your best buddy from college?

• Do you play well with others? Can you listen to differing viewpoints without taking the criticism as a personal insult? Can you set aside your own perspective long enough to listen to an alternative viewpoint?

• Do you really have the basic knowledge necessary to make decisions about county budgets or school facilities? Do you understand what it takes to run a county or a school district? And, if you feel you are a bit lacking, are you willing to stand up and say, “I need help understanding this,” without worrying about what it looks like?

• Are you able to translate the same principles that you live by at home on the job? Can you look at someone you represent and say “the money is just not there for that now” or “I would love to support that, but here are the other priorities that I think are important now”?

• Can you ignore the squeaky wheel majority to give the grease to the minority that truly needs the money or program?

• Can you stand up and say “I disagree” to a fellow commissioner or school board member rather than just silently following the majority?

• Are you really ready to be a leader? Do you understand that this is a demanding position with a great deal of responsibility that won’t be finished in eight hours? Are you committed to serving even if it means more than just shaking a few hands or eating barbecue?

And last but not least:

• Can you stand up when you are the lone voice and stick to your principles, even if it means that someone tells you that you have lost their vote? Can you deliver the bad news when you have to?

Over the next few weeks and months, all those who have filed for both boards will have the chance to show their community that they are the best picks for the seats.

It is our job to evaluate each application. And this is as good a place as any to start.

Published in Editorials on March 2, 2008 12:02 AM