When the check writers determine who the law writers are, the system never changes. When bureaucrats are allowed to govern with impunity, the system never changes. In or out of office, where we don't have natural leaders, citizens—and more importantly, children—are done a disservice.
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. We've reached a crossroads in Jackson when the regular folks among us—like you and I—may find it necessary to fight against those we have entrusted to lead us, whether they're appointed or in office. It doesn't matter if you're a taxpayer with a house and two kids or an 8th grader in a Jackson public school, ineffective leadership affects us all. Top-heavy administrations have become the enemy of progress, in city hall and in the central office. When you take those top-heavy positions and add in egos, the mixture gets more volatile.
I am a fan of Dr. Steve Perry, the outspoken founder of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Conn. He's a guy after my own heart, because he's a young go-getter who pisses off teachers' unions and bureaucrats alike. I wholeheartedly agree with him when he said recently that too many people have "leadership" jobs—such as mayor, senator, superintendent or principal—who aren't "natural leaders." Consequently, they spend time touting their résumés and overcompensating.
Could "over-degreed" but talentless administrators in all areas be our problem? And are those folks' careers only continuing because we allow them to do so—through the ballot, the pulpit or the boardroom?
There is a definite difference in people who hold several degrees and padded "puffy" resumes—who folks assume are qualified to lead—and being a natural leader of men and women. Some city and school officials are so smart and so educated; yet, they are clueless to the needs of those they serve. We've become a society so impressed with a person's ability to rattle off degrees and job stints that we don't realize many use their bona fides to mask the fact that they have leadership deficiencies.
You may have four degrees in education, but you don't recognize a troubled 16-year-old who goes home to a bad environment every night? You may have four degrees in urban planning and three more in political science, but you have no connection with lay people. You may have no idea how to make people "feel" like they, and the city, are going in a good direction.
This city needs fighters—people not afraid to make enemies and not afraid to make those pushing for the status quo uncomfortable. We need natural leaders in and out of office. Unconventional. Unorthodox. Ones who know what their constituents, the ones I call the "common folk," are going through.
Are you tired of being told what's "best for us" by others? Then it's time to speak up and upset that apple cart.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.