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Government committees can work

As part of my job here at the paper, I get the privilege of attending a lot of board meetings around McDuffie County. The other day, I mentioned this to a friend, and his response was "oh, you mean é─˛bored' meetings." At the time I laughed, but I have to disagree. It seems to me that the meetings are only boring if you're not involved in whatever cause they are meeting for.

One thing I've learned about committee members is they have a good time when they get together. At least, this is the case in McDuffie County. Unfortunately, it's no news that Richmond County board members have to spend $14,000 in tax dollars on a trip to Hawaii in order to have fun.

At the Thomson-McDuffie County Tourism Board meeting last week, the members were having such a good time laughing and joking while they accomplished their business, that I was considering joining the board just to become a part of the meetings. Fortunately, I can attend as a reporter and enjoy sitting on the outside looking in.

As I was "looking in," I found it interesting that different people have different views. The board was discussing their participation in "Georgia On My Mind" day at the welcome center. One member was concerned with our display, and was comparing our display with ones from other communities.

A different member asked what visitors to the Welcome Center were interested in - what would draw tourists to our community. The first member didn't know, because the first member was concerned with the aesthetic appeal of our display compared to others.

It was interesting to me that both members had a valid point. That is why committees are made up of more than one person. Each member gives a different viewpoint that creates a complete picture. Best of all, the two members did not argue or even disagree. Everything was pleasant.

The different viewpoints remind me of an old poem by John Godfrey Saxe. Mr. Saxe tells of six blind men who were curious to know what an elephant looked like. Each man reached out to touch the elephant, but not one of them felt the entire elephant.

The first felt the elephant's side, and thought the elephant was like a wall. The second felt its tusk and thought the elephant was like a spear. The third felt its trunk, and thought the elephant was like a snakeé─ÂI guess you can see where this is going. Opinions vary. Hopefully, most of us consider the opinions of others. Unfortunately many think theirs is the only opinion that counts - especially if they're a Richmond County Commissioner.



Web posted on Thursday, August 4, 2005











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