By TODD J. TRANUM
Those who enter political careers face many decisions that most often have a broad impact on community, regions, states and the world. Those who serve in public office deserve credit and appreciation for making an investment of their time and for taking on the important duty of making decisions that can affect a whole lot of people.
Those who enter public policy for the right reasons recognize that they will have to take on difficult issues and make hard decisions and realize that is part of the job. Those willing to take a public office and make the difficult decisions are true leaders.
Public officials take on a responsibility to fulfill the requirements of the office for which they are elected.Special interest groups are important to the political process as they can be informative and provide perspective on issues.
However special interests should not deter elected officials from good decision making. Good leaders should not allow their decision making processes to be clouded by their desire for a higher political office. Public officials have a challenging job of navigating the interests of constituents and the interests of the greater good can at times be difficult.
There are issues that may be supported by a majority of people yet not supported by the majority of a specific constituency that public official represents. At the end of the day, good public officials find balance and make decisions that are in the best interest of their constituents and the community as a whole, and those are often the most difficult decisions.
The County Home vote is difficult for many of our legislators. We know this because we have communicated with our legislators on this topic and have attended public meetings for over a year on this topic. We also know this is a sensitive topic.
Even within our membership and in our board room we have had a lot of discussion regarding the County Home. Yet, at the end of the day we took a position. We are asking our county legislators to come to the same conclusion that we have and vote yes to selling the County Home to VestraCare.VestraCare is a reputable buyer that has made a solid offer to the County and the county taxpayer. Failure to sell to VestraCare will put the services and the jobs provided at the County Home in danger because the Home is no longer financially sustainable as a county-run operation.
John F. Kennedy once stated that, "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction." It may feel comfortable or seem politically advantageous to some legislators, to not support the sale of the County Home. However in the long run, the risks are significant to our community, the employees of the home, our elderly, and Chautauqua County property taxpayers. Those who fail to make the difficult political decision now are risking all of that and will then have to answer to their constituents.
Todd J. Tranum is president and chief executive officer of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.