Insight gathered by front-line workers often proves invaluable to higher-ups

Do not assume this commentary to be solely about Town Officials, because it’s actually about so much more… 

Being involved with a number of town, county, state and federal government agencies, and different social and not-for-profits or other organizations, it becomes very frustrating to get anything done.

At least it seems that way.

Everyone knows things better than the person actually doing the work. This is such a common thread in so many ways, most people can relate to it in their daily lives, both job related and social.

The older we get, the wiser we see things. Some is good, some is really frustrating. It is amazing how people act sometimes. We can even surprise ourselves by something we said or did, and later realize that maybe someone else had a better handle on the issue.

For any one person to believe they have the ability to know how to do another person’s job better, is dangerous.

Unless of course, that person had plenty of experience doing that particular job and truly knows what is involved.

So often that is not the case.

This applies to any government, in private industry, in the corporate world, not-for-profits and even in volunteer organizations.

So many times, placing someone—or a group of people—in a position of power, tends to “empower” them.

If one person must report to a higher authority or body of people, it should be expected that the overseeing individual actually knows what they are talking about and is fully knowledgeable and capable of representing those who are being represented.

Again, so often this is not the case.

When a governing body, a board, or a commission is faced with problems… which almost always is about money, or the lack of it… the absolute best way to help find solutions is to be painfully open and honest with the people actually in the trenches doing the day-to-day work.

They are the ones that know what makes their work tick; they know best how to run their programs, their offices, their duties.

They know their clients; they know what makes people happy, or mad. They know best what seems to work well or what best meets the intended result… the mission statement.

Every entity, be it a government, public or private organization has a mission statement, or something very similar.

All towns, villages and school districts are facing new regulatory requirements imposed by the state and federal governments every year.

Some of these new requirements make sense, some don’t. Often it depends on the specific locality as to whether or not it is practical or even realistic for them.

This not only applies to the world of enforcement of laws and codes of any kind, but to making financial profits in companies and corporate world or to meeting the mission statement of organizations of any kind.

But so often these new laws or new initiatives are made by those who “think” they know best.

Then those who think they know best—whether it’s a board or group of people empowered—tell those who actually have to make it happen, to make it happen. When in-fact, the ones who ultimately have to make these new rules work can honestly say… “This can’t work, they don’t have a clue of what’s going on.”

How many times have you heard this on the street, outside the boardroom?

For smaller municipalities, smaller companies and smaller organizations to include those actually implementing new initiatives “down in the trenches” is easy, it’s a small group.

For new state and federal initiatives, obviously this concept becomes much more difficult because so many people may be involved.

So here in the Code Office we continue to try and implement state and local code regulations the best we can. Are we perfect?… not even close.

But we will try to explain how and why the multitudes of regulatory requirements are out there. Why you can do this, but can’t do that.

Not only are we enforcement officers, we also try to be an advocate to the applicant.

Know that when we can have a voice in change, we speak up. This is called getting involved in the process.

If more people stood up to express their knowledge, intelligently and professionally, the more successful things may be.

Knowledge, understanding, involving the right people and getting involved are powerful tools.

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