Updated: June 12, 2022
Prayer. The commissioners have included a biblical-based prayer as part of their meeting agenda. Does this imply that the commissioners intend to apply a higher moral standard when making decisions that affect all county citizens? If so, by what method? What feedback is being used to assess results?
Judeo-Christian principles influenced the development of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These principles include the beliefs that God is perfect, Jesus is the standard of perfection, and man is imperfect and expected to improve. The aim of the U.S. system of government is to work toward “a more perfect Union.” Meeting this objective requires continuous improvement that results in more needs being met and less harm to people when needs are not met. Consequently, continuous improvement is a moral imperative.
The Preamble U.S. Constitution. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In the context of a Biblical worldview, actions motivated by love result in outcomes where everyone benefits, or at least, is not any worse off in the long term. Meeting this objective requires that you ask “everyone” (aka citizens) how they define “more perfect” (better) and the information they need to assess if change results in improvement.
What’s New? God included variability in his designs. The variation principle states that everyone and everything is unique, one of a kind; no two things are exactly alike. Variation represents the gap or difference between the ideal situation and the actual. An ideal represents a standard of perfection. In the words of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, although perfection is not attainable, if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.
Systems determine the majority, if not most, of the outcomes. The County Comprehensive Plan is a key document for identifying what citizens want and do not want regarding economic development and quality of life. The county plan is not current, is only 12 pages, and is deliberately vague. Good arguments can be made for or against a project which invites corruption. A good Plan along with quality leadership would ensure the Plan is aligned with the Budget. A good budget is supported by a useful financial plan as well as a capital improvement plan and budget for county infrastructure. The county has no capital improvement plan and budget. A supporting infrastructure plan is an asset management plan for Fixing Roads and Bridges (limited information available).
- How capable are county government systems in meeting the needs and expectations of the citizenry? On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, the county would likely be assessed around a 2 (the national average). More info: County and Community Capability Maturity Model.
A method? Continuous improvement can be achieved through a secular as well as non-secular approach. It requires reducing the variation from the ideal.
- Christianity. God defines the ideal; God is the moral authority. Everyone can benefit in the long term. More needs are met, and there is less harm to people from needs not being met.
- Secular Strategy –Man defines the ideal. In quality management, the Customer defines the ideal and in America, Citizens define the ideal
A non-secular approach for improving the quality of county government is provided through the Brown County Leader Network (BCLN).
- Overall Context – Quality Management, Continuous Improvement – Overview, History, Examples
- Brown County Leader Network (BCLN) – Overview of the Concept
- A Way Ahead for America – A secular and non-secular approach to improvement
- God’s Insiders – An introduction to the variation principle and its relevance
Avoiding Hypocrisy. If the commissioners continue to include prayer as part of their meeting, they should also be expected to practice what is being preached through the application of better methods. Another option is to offer a prayer before the meeting starts or offer a moment of silence.
Citizen Responsibility. In addition to voting for the best candidates, don’t citizens also have a responsibility to get involved in supporting the needed changes?