Susie Mosher: The demands of public service


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Leave it to a long-time educational leader to turn a needed leave of absence for mental health reasons into a teachable moment. We must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.

Amherst School Superintendent Michael Morris’ decision to take a leave of absence contains a second teachable message. Our current political climate is beyond challenging for those in positions of responsibility. For the past five or more years, the intensity of the demands the public makes are burning out the very people we need to volunteer, hold responsible jobs, provide informed leadership, etc. Distrustful, accusatory, and non-respectful behavior has increased at meetings. Who will choose to fill these demanding public service roles?

While not perfect, the people in local government, usually work above and beyond their job descriptions and work week to accomplish their tasks. They research and synthesize information, consider the same concerns the public has, and make recommendations and decisions to benefit the community.

Dr. Morris’ situation raises these questions: Who will choose the role of leader, volunteer, worker? Can the public hold reasonable expectations and show appreciation for the those doing the people’s work? How can we support our government and services instead of tearing at them? Showing respect and trust, volunteering to help, working together and connecting in our community are good places to start. Let’s roll up our sleeves and ask, “How can we help?”

Best wishes for recovery, Dr. Morris. The same goes for our communities.

Susie Mosher