By Paul Young
President, South Dakota Municipal League
and City of Spearfish council member
For any organization to be successful, teamwork must be a core commodity. For a municipality, teamwork is absolutely essential. We all know and appreciate the teamwork between the various departments, the teamwork between elected officials and city staff, and the teamwork between a mayor and council. But from an elected official’s standpoint, I would like to single out some unsung players in this whole teamwork scheme.
Without these unsung players, municipal government would have a hard time functioning at all. The funny thing about it is that every community has these unsung players and they are different in every community.
These unsung players are the employers in your communities that allow their employees to serve the community as elected officials. They are willing to share their human resource with the community as a whole, knowing that there will be additional demands placed upon the employees’ time and talent.
By allowing their employees to serve their community as elected officials, they not only allow their community to operate today but they allow the vision and goal to be set for tomorrow.
Every community depends upon people willing to serve in an elected capacity, willing to do the work necessary in the decision making process that shapes and molds the community. And for everyone willing to serve, there must be someone willing to allow that person to serve.
So, you can see that the teamwork necessary for municipal government to function properly extends beyond the walls of city hall and includes many others outside of government proper. But whether realized or not they are showing that they care what kind of community they have and want by allowing their employee to be in a decision making position in their municipal government.
We could not do it without the flexibility and willingness of these employers to allow their employees to serve their community as an elected official.
In my 17 years as an elected official, I have been blessed with several employers who have been willing to allow me to serve my community and state. I am humbled and honored by their sacrifice. So here is a big shout-out to all the unsung players/employers across this great state of South Dakota. You not only provide us with great jobs but you also allow us the opportunity to serve the greater community as well. Your generosity does not go unnoticed. Thank you!
The South Dakota Municipal League was organized in 1934 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit association of incorporated municipalities in South Dakota. The League’s mission is the cooperative improvement of municipal government in South Dakota.