In appreciation of city council members

By Joe Denen - Guest Columnist

With the conclusion of 2017, we thank Leah Foster and Kim Bonnell for their service with City Council. In the New Year, Dale Lynch and Ted Hawk will be returning to service with City Council and will be joined by new members Steve Shiltz and Caleb Johnson. Mr. Jim Chrisman, Kendra Hernandez and Steve Jennings remain with City Council serving their current terms of office.

All the achievements of the community are those of collective effort. However, considerable pride may be expressed by Leah Foster and Kim Bonnell; in particular in the second half of their time with City Council. Together, within the City and in cooperation with numerous other individuals and organizations much good was done.

Retirement of people from service to the community is not something that has been a focus in the news. Nevertheless, people make the City operate every day of the year. In particular, the Police Department and Water Departments have a high proportion of new employees.

In the past several years, we have seen numerous individuals naturally retire from service with the City of Washington Court House. I accept these retirements with a sense of pride and loss. I am happy to see the person begin a new part of their life, but I also feel the separation.

The usual experience of an employee and City is a relationship that spans about three decades or more. Some folks come to us in their youth, others later in life. Once in a while the relationship does not work, but more often than not success is found.

I am conscious that the concept of an employer and employee having a mutual obligation that spans decades is increasingly unusual. In the wider world all too often workers get looked at like a commodity instead of people and people look for jobs and not careers.

We have been frequently blessed with new employees eager to make a contribution to society and eager to embrace the concept that employer and employee have a mutual commitment. In particular, I am moved to see the development of young people we employ.

The beginning of new lives, marriages, children, new mothers and fathers finding a way in the world. An endless parade of people. Invariably while watching them you think about your own life. Marriage, children and people temporarily separated from us by death. You think about the story of your parents.

Slowly you realize that the wonder is not in passing politics or the ambition of self-interest, but in the continuation of service. One person after another person in endless succession. The dignity of a people fulfilling the needs of the community.

We have just celebrated the birth of Christ and now welcome a New Year. I take comfort in our humble expression of service. An expression of service that is actually an expression of love for mankind. A small part of a chaotic universe ordered and reliable for the good of all regardless of their station in life.

We thank Kim Bonnell and Leah Foster for their service and wish them well. Council functions unlike other political institutions; success is not found in the expansion of ego or the chasing of the politics of the day. Successes and respect are found in surrendering self-interest and embracing humility. The values of the long-term over the gossip or passing issue of the day.

Welcome Steve Shiltz and Caleb Johnson and hello to the New Year.

Joe Denen is the City Manager of the City of Washington Court House.

By Joe Denen

Guest Columnist