Letter to the Editor: Don’t assume there will be gridlock on new board

Editor:

I was disappointed with the Nov. 5 article “Board make-up could set up showdowns” and the assumptions made about how the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors will govern come January 2016.

The article does a disservice to our local governing body and our elected officials. While it is true that there are differences of opinion on many issues among the board members, I think it unfair at this time to assume that this automatically translates to gridlock for Shenandoah County government.

The dogmatic and ideological approach to government that we see play out on our national stage is frustrating for everyone, but to assign that same mode of operation to Shenandoah County is both premature and counterproductive. At the local level, where government has the greatest direct impact on our lives, I am hopeful that our elected officials will put aside any personal agendas, and instead closely examine the information available, and work together to reach compromise for the betterment of Shenandoah County citizens.

During my time on the Shenandoah Forum Board of Directors, I have come to appreciate the sometimes painful process of consensus the Forum has adopted, wherein each of us has learned to give personal ground when necessary for the benefit of the whole. Are these agreed upon solutions perfect? No. But they are solutions in which each of us gets something and gives something that will allow us to move forward, and so we choose to live with them.

Shenandoah Forum, founded in 2001, was organized around the central theme of putting reliable, documented information in the hands of citizens and government decision makers in order to enable informed and thorough consideration of issues that impact our lives and those of future generations. I trust that the best decisions for our community will be made when citizens and elected officials have all available information and can examine that information for accuracy and application.

I have to believe that deep down this is the kind of local government all Shenandoah County citizens want and I think we should expect this rather than assume the worst.

Seth Coffman, chairman, Shenandoah Forum

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