The “Entitled Few”

So, how to deal with the Entitled Few? There isn’t a magic answer to this conundrum. What I do believe is that, as public administrators, our job is to find ways to deal with them. Ignoring them is an option, I suppose, but that normally doesn’t work. I view my position as on the front line of solving a problem. If I can’t solve it, the next level is the city manager and/or elected officials. If they become involved, I will eventually be directed to solve it anyway. My job is to enable them to focus on their jobs. Can anyone else identify with this scenario?

A Vocal Few

What I try to keep in mind is that basically everyone wants to have his or her opinion heard. Often it is a matter of meeting face-to-face to discuss the situation and to try to articulate the big picture. As public administrators, our task is to create opportunities where these voices can be heard in a safe and professional setting.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Some people just won’t listen to reason, no matter what the setting. It seems I spend 98 percent of my time and effort dealing with the problems of the vocal 2 percent of the population, while 98 percent of the equally deserving constituents–the silent majority–only receive 2 percent of my time. Unfortunately, this can become a pattern for administrators at the local government level. While it is generally true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, that doesn’t always mean that the wagon to which the wheel is attached is headed in the right direction.

There are many people much smarter than I in the recreation field and with infinitely more patience, who have no doubt learned how to deal with these “entitled” personalities. I would like to hear how you deal with this issue.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail dls@peachtree-city.org

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