Where The Rubber Meets The Road

The bottom line is that human beings generally want to be treated with respect. We don’t like surprises–or at least not bad surprises. Most people like to have their opinions considered, even if they aren’t agreed with or acted upon. Most people want to feel as though they have some control of their and their family’s (and staff’s) destiny.

It’s easy for public administrators to become jaded, and those of us in the recreation field are no exception. We try to provide quality services to large and varied audiences using limited resources that, in today’s environment, continue to erode. Unfortunately, expectations don’t decline with the funding. As one citizen recently told our city council, “I want the same level of service, but I don’t want to pay extra for it.”

I hope I’m not reading into Bessler’s intent, and if I am, mea culpa, but I think both of us are saying that, regardless of the circumstances, we need to avoid the “bunker mentality,” as he put it. Especially in times of duress, we need to consider fully the impact of our actions, and think about the legacy we leave.

I certainly don’t consider myself an “expert,” or that this is the final word. There are other takes on this issue. What are some ideas you perceive as solutions–or at least coping mechanisms–to the financial crisis? Share them with me or the PRB staff and thus with your peers. You never know who will provide an idea that can help us all make it through these financial straits.

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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