Some of the best things about living in a county as close-knit as ours are the relationships — the real relationships — local elected officials have with their constituents.
Many of us can literally say we grew up with more than a few.
And they are our neighbors — in both the literal and figurative senses. We see them at the grocery store, at the gas pump, at ball games and in our everyday moments.
Those relationships are key. Constituents can and should feel they can approach elected officials with questions, concerns and ideas. Local government — and most of us would agree, thankfully — shapes our individual lives far more tangibly than what happens in Washington D.C. or even Jefferson City.
So having those real connections is invaluable.
But is the reverse true? How much do we, as citizens, really know about the ins and outs of our local officials’ everyday moments? About the ordinances and statutes that mandate their duties? What the responsibilities are that go with the job?
We are betting the answer to those questions — for most of us — sounds a little like, “Not as much as we should.”
After all, a quick search through city ordinance or the Revised Statutes of Missouri will reveal dozens of laws governing those duties, jobs and responsibilities — for each individual office.
To that end, the Bolivar Herald-Free Press is in the early days of what will undoubtedly prove to be an extensive and long-term ongoing series. (After all, there are dozens of officeholders at the City of Bolivar and county level alone.)
So far, through four “Elected to Serve” features, we have looked at the roles of Bolivar’s mayor, collector and aldermen, as well as Polk County’s commissioners. Today’s edition includes the fifth installment, which focuses on the office of county clerk.
We hope you are not only finding the series a good read but are also learning more than a little — and perhaps walking away with a few questions and thoughts of your own. (Of course, we’d love to hear what those questions and/or thoughts may be. As always, we welcome letters to the editor on these subjects.)
While it’s a great deal to take in, as citizens, it is our job to know — not just the people who fill those roles, but the offices themselves.
And as we at the BH-FP see it, it’s our job to help our fellow citizens do just that.