Monday, February 1, 2010

Civic Lessons

I hear this was something that was once taught in schools, but I don’t remember it.  In 5th grade we learned about the states. In 8th grade we learned about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  I don’t ever remember being taught how local, county or state government worked. Luckily last week, I heard a speaker, Harry Pozycki, that taught me the basics of New Jersey government. No, not the rampant corruption in the state – that, I did know about. Instead, he spoke about the importance of local government, how easy it is for an ordinary citizen to voice their opinion and influence the direction of their town.

Harry Pozycki founded the Citizen’s Campaign – A Call to Service a group that is striving to “cultivate a culture of service” and develop future leaders. Their website is The Citizen’s Campaign has been behind legislation and executive orders that have created State level Play-for-Pay reforms and opened local and county board/commission appointments to the general public. This weekend, I took their online course on Appointed Offices. It is a 30 minute emersion into local government. I found it very informative and well worth the time.

Over the weekend, my Councilman Tim Smith updated his Facebook page with information about a grass roots initiative he spearheaded on Government Efficiencies in Morris County. In late January, the 1st report from GEM was released. will provide a copy of the 111 page report. I’m looking forward to the next phase of the movement, particularly on the possible consolidation of the tax assessing and collection process.  

Both of these men, Tim and Harry have shown me that we don’t have to sit back and let government run amuck, that common sense can prevail with governmental entities working together, transparency in government and citizen involvement. They’ve done their part on the first two, now it’s up to me to do my part on the 3rd

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