Government transition working just fine, thank you

Some of the chief arguments against the City of Minot’s still-new council structure focused on the ripple of challenges change would bring. Too many processes needed to be redefined, too many procedures on the books needed to be altered. There would be too much change, too soon, and it would negatively affect the entire city. So said many critics.

Well, there aren’t exactly villagers with torches and pitchforks circling City Hall; there aren’t rioters in the street; and many recent complaints from residents have been unfounded (alleged slow snow removal, the myth of the city’s fire department failing to assist at Earth Recycling, resistance to the new garbage system before it was even tried, etc.).

One might even say that things are operating quite smoothly with the city. One could add that the city’s budget struggle is a sign of legitimate fiscal responsibility. One could say the current council and administration are even moving on two tracks: trying to repair mistakes of the past and charting a course for a better city of tomorrow.

Furthermore, these are only logical positions. Despite concerns over potential upheaval resulting from the change in government, Mayor Chuck Barney has skillfully and gracefully led the way through this transition on the elected official end of things; and City Manager Tom Barry has shown since day one in Minot that his hiring might be the best decision ever made by the previous council.

However, the point is not that the City of Minot is fortunate to be well-led these days, although this is true. The point is that hopefully we have learned through the long process that saw a group of citizen activists organize for change, voters overwhelmingly support it… that the wheels did not fall off the wagon. Change has been ushered in and, at this point, it seems like a pretty good deal for Minot.

Change can be intimidating. It can be so intimidating, in fact, that some will cling to a mediocre today rather than take any risk for a superior tomorrow.

Sure, we remain in the early days of this new government structure. But it would be hard to argue today that voters didn’t make the right choice; and even harder to argue that local leadership hasn’t done a tremendous job with the transition.

Bravo, Minot!

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