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Let’s respect where we are and be patient with we we are going E-mail
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 10:35


Some in our community were pleased to see changes at City Hall earlier this week and some were disappointed. That is to be expected every time there is a shake-up in city management.

Whatever the views, there has to be recognition that Liberal has made positive steps forward. From park improvements to business growth to sound fiscal responsibility, Liberal is currently in a healthy financial position, and credit must be given to the previous city commission and to former City Manager Mark Hall.

There are some who would never acknowledge these accomplishments.

Likewise, mistakes were made along the way, including the sale of the airport property to Walmart and the ensuing fallout that included secret contracts, a misunderstanding of using the money to build new softball fields, and spending twice as much as what was expected to rebuild the fields, and building them on a flood plain.

There are some who will never acknowledge these mistakes.

Whatever has happened is now history. We can not go back.

While we may have a new commission, the challenge faced by every commission remains the same — how to move our community forward.

Changing seats on the commission by itself may change personalities, even community direction, but an election by itself won’t change our city over night.

Change takes time, sacrifice and commitment.

Sustainable change will take cooperation and involvement by the community as a whole.

It would be unrealistic to believe that with a new commission will automatically come the doubling of the size of the community or immediate solutions to housing, economic development or other infrastructure improvements.

Even if solutions were provided immediately, they wouldn’t be met with much support, because part of creating unity is involving people in the discussion of how to move forward. When the people are involved, they are more likely to support initiatives. When they are not involved, they are more likely to seek other alternatives in leadership.

There is no need to rush to find solutions without first embracing a process that is inclusive.

A great example was the passage of the school district’s $127 million bond project.

With countless planning sessions and input from parents, business owners, teachers, retirees and other community members, not to mention a unique partnership between the city and school district to create a half-cent sales tax to help pay for the improvements, this proposal received a 76 percent vote of approval.

And the final result only occurred because of the process that got it there.

There is never a time when the end can justify the means. Even if something appears to be a positive outcome, if the process does not involve the people, it will never be given the credibility needed to be successful.

The process to create a school bond proposal took almost a year, and the new commission will need to take time and seek the same community involvement to determine the course we should take to move forward. 

It would be unrealistic to believe the new commission should be miracle workers, and we will only experience frustration if we expect instant success.

If we hold grudges for the past, we won’t only be undermining the success of this commission, but we will also be undermining the success of Liberal as a whole.

For those who want to focus on past mistakes, you will lose sight of the successes that have Liberal poised for a positive step forward.

For those who won’t admit any mistakes were made in the past, your goal will be to criticize every step moving forward.

Both positions are tied to yesterday when the shift needs to be made to looking to tomorrow.

The voters have selected each of the five commissioners, and it is time to allow these five to create a team that can work together for the best interests of us all.

Yes, there will be disagreements, and that should not be villainized but respected.

This commission has taken a bold step to move Liberal forward with one of the most diverse collections of leaders the community has ever voted into office. They will bring a variety of viewpoints which will insure Liberal’s varying viewpoints will be heard.

We need to give them time to be effective with realistic expectations of what can be accomplished.

If we continue to look back instead of forward, we will surely stumble.




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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