Supervisors are focused on seeking first to understand, then to be understood

Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2020

For the Warren County Board of Supervisors, the first few weeks of their new term has been about the little things.

It has been conversations about how the agenda for each meeting is organized, understanding the processes of handling purchasing everything from paper clips to large equipment and the underlying do’s and do not’s of the office. There have also been discussions of what might be considered much larger issues, such as the upcoming search for a full-time county administrator, the transition to a new county engineer and reviewing the county’s current and long-term debts.

While there may be a feeling of newness to their actions, there is also a feeling of detail. With four of the five seats on the board now occupied by first-time supervisors, there is one question they have refused to accept to any of their questions; “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

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They have challenged the long-time staff to find answers and the reasons why such actions are requested and suggested. They have asked for verification of state statutes that govern much of their law-making ability and they have had an overriding thirst for information.

Much of that attention to detail and drive came in a single statement many could have missed from Monday’s work sessions at the supervisors’ office.

“If we don’t have any teeth, then we need to grow some,” District 4 Supervisor and Board President Dr. Jeff Holland said.

While the comment came in connection with the discussion on reviewing the smoking policies at county public buildings, specifically the Warren County Courthouse, it could very easily be applied to the attitude this group of supervisors is taking with each topic, each discussion and each decision.

In their first month, this board has been decisive, but they have also done their homework before reaching decisions.

For those familiar with Franklin Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” this board is working by many of those habits, but it is the fifth they are focused on right now; “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

That’s what we call a pretty good start.