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Mixed agendas drive county government

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By Robert Gibson

What motivates the actions and decisions of our county council?
Councils change every two years.  I served on four and worked with six others.  
Interactions among any seven people will be different.  But common themes run through most councils.
The first and official motivation, of course, is the best interest of the citizens the council represents and serves.  
There will be legitimate and healthy differences of opinion over what that best interest is.  
Elected legislators everywhere are frequently torn between doing what their constituents want (representation) and what they think best (leadership).   
Second is the interest of our professional county staff.  In principle, council sets policy; staff executes it and provides the day-to-day services.  
We are blessed with many very capable and hard-working public employees.  
Like any group, they also have their personal and organizational agendas.  Staff has very strong influence on council.
This influence is most obvious in the greatly oversized buildings built or planned for them. The White Rock Fire Station, Airport Basin/Pajarito Cliffs shops and yards, Justice Center, and now the Municipal Building were all needed.  


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