I just had a fantastic conversation with a true servant and I wont even call him by name because he as a servant of the community would not want it that way and just the nature of this man and his true committment to this community through servant leadership he will remain nameless. One topic of our lengthy conversation was about service or disservice and the answerability of our local elected leaders to their constituency. What does it mean to hold an office in Bradley County or the City of Cleveland or Charleston? What makes these officials accountable to their constituency and how many of them take seriously that role. We came to a scientific hypothesis via our casual analytical conversation that it would be safe to bet the bank that 50 to 75 percent of our elected leaders do not know what it means to answer to their Constituency! The one consistent theme is do they understand that role and if they “say” they understand that role do they actually practice it everyday. With that thought in mind, when was the last time you saw or heard of one our locally elected officials hold a town hall type meeting or engage the public they represent on a specific subject after they were elected? Now dont get me wrong, I know it happens, and that is the probable 25 % I speak of, but the point of this article is that it happens rarely and when it does 3 people show up and the conversation is run by the media that attend and the result of this ineffective meeting is rewarded by a glowing article of some type of “pork” spending bill being introduced to the area or some new federal grant that is coming our way to raise your taxes. I rarely see a “politician type” gather a group with plenty of public notice and actually sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and discuss the issues. I went on to say to this civil servant, I can make a politician, elected leader vehemently mad just by asking a simple question like “what is this going to cost the taxpayers of Bradley County or as a result of this “growth plan” how much will our taxes go up or where is the financial plan or why didnt you discuss this with the taxpayer the huge bill and redevelopment of downtown before you offered to spend 100s of millions, perhaps billions of their tax dollars? There is this misguided thought process that if I bring in 100s of millions of dollars of pork I have done my job! Where in America does it dictate that our elected officials spend billions of your tax dollars and you are doing a good job as a politician. Here is a novel concept, lets take those billions that are being requested to “spend on the kids” and “vision projects” and pay down the federal deficit. Now that would conceptually change things wouldn’t it? Instead of eagerly nestling up to the federal teet for a good feeding, lets take that money and put it to good use. That would be a politician I would vote for! Why cant we come out of that shell? Why cant we get out of that “nanny state” mentality? The answer being simply is their ego is being fed and stroked and the atta boys flow by whom? Not the constituency of whom they represent, but by the “elected officials”, “corporate giants” or the Chamber of Commerce whom they are convinced they represent! Something wrong here! I often wonder what is going through their minds at times and I get a headache from a lack of understanding. Once elected do they put blinders on? Do they confuse the private sector with the public sector. I have a public sector job and in that job their are specific things I have to do to continue to feed my family and provide a standard of living, right? Now when these elected officials get the “politician gig” do they bring that same work ethic to their elected office? Do they say to themselves once elected, am I doing everything within my power to keep my “elected job” do I have the best interest of my constituency in mind? I dare say that many do not and thus the problem! The disconnect, the desire to be honorable, with a duty to their country, ends up being a disservice.