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Sarah Palin not the only one who has been going rogue

From the Editor's Notebook

December 13, 2009
by Chuck Hunt, Register Editor
“Going Rogue” is the name of former Alaska governor – and former vice presidential candidate – Sarah Palin’s new book. She has been touring the U.S., touting and signing the book –including a stop in Minnesota.

I have not read the book, but I understand it details some of the things she has done as a type of maverick – going her own way, as it were.

One of the definitions of rogue is being a mischievous person, a scamp. The other definition is a dishonest person.

I assume she doesn’t intend to call herself dishonest, so my guess is she is using the term to mean she is mischievous, and always up to something.

Having listened to her, I believe she wants people to think she speaks her own mind, and calls it as she sees it. She uses the term rogue to mean independent, and not following the pack.

Going rogue might be an apt title for some of the activities of various city council members in Faribault County, it seems.

In Wells, one of their members seems to always be stirring the pot. Councilman Mike Weber says he is working hard to keep the council on the straight and narrow. He does this by questioning some past activities and proposing ways to operate differently in the future.

His plan to have an application process for making appointments to city committees is one example. He felt it was a good idea; the rest of the council did not, and his motion failed for lack of a second.

Weber is a rogue city councilman, not always going the way of the rest of the council. While some of his ideas are laudable, he also has to be careful not to bring personal issues with the council to the table. If he does, his chances of accomplishing anything are going to diminish dramatically.

Maybe you can't always be the rogue in public office.

In Winnebago, some of their council members are accused of acting as rogues and making decisions outside of the public’s view. The accusations come from their own city administrator.

If true, the accusations would show council members going beyond the one definition of rogue, and actually breaking Minnesota state law. That would put them into the first definition of being dishonest.

Administrator Jennifer Feely says they secretly decided to fire her. That activity, if it is what actually happened, should not be tolerated. The public’s business needs to be conducted in full view of the public.

Now, in Blue Earth, a couple of the city council members appear to have been taking the rogue trail as well.

Their visit with an official of the Federal Aviation Authority looks dangerously like two rogue councilmen attempting to derail a city project, even after the full council had already voted to proceed.

Although they say they were acting as private citizens, and simply wanted to get all of the facts straight, it still seems as though it was not the proper thing to do.

Even if they went as private citizens, the fact remains they are council members, and sometimes the two hats are difficult to switch around.

I once served on a city council, and I realize what a tough job it can be. There are difficult decisions to make sometimes, and not all of them are going to be popular. Sometimes you are going to be that rogue councilman, speaking the unpopular view, because you think it is the right thing for the city.

But, after the vote is taken, it is time to move on and proceed with the city's business. And, to do it openly and in full view of the public.

That is why we elected you.

I guess I was a bit of a rogue member when I served on a city council, once upon a time. More than once I was accused of playing devil’s advocate. That was being a bit roguish, now that I reflect upon it.

Most city council members I have met all have one common goal – doing what is best for the city they serve.

Sometimes that means going rogue, but most of the time it simply means trying to make the best decision – and then living with it.
 
 

 

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