Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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July 21, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 7/24/12 In this edition: *Colorado Horror *RIP Pam Stewart *RIP Marylou Henley *Policy vs. Politics *Work? Campaign? Personal? *Did You Know? *Colorado Horror My thoughts and prayers go out to all the folks affected by the horrific mass murder in Aurora, CO. *RIP Pam Stewart Johnson County lost another great volunteer with the recent passing of Pam Stewart. Pam was instrumental in the building of the Ronald McDonald House, served as board member and chair of her professional association, and cared for many, many children with heart problems. In retirement Pam volunteered with Project Green, the League of Women Voters, as a library book binder, and as a radio reader. She was also a staunch Democrat who was very willing to share her opinions. I know I am but one of the many Johnson County residents who will truly miss Pam Stewart. RIP, Pam. *RIP Marylou Henley Also passing away this week was Marylou Henley, mother of local do-gooder Robin Butler and mother-in-law of my fellow Supervisor Janelle Rettig. (I couldn’t come up with any title for Robin better than “do-gooder”. I know – it sounds like I’m a complaining villain! But Robin just does so much good work on so many good causes. A do-gooder! But I digress!) Marylou was a relative newcomer to Iowa City, but her wit and charm had allowed her to develop many friends during her time here. I am proud to count myself among them. The past couple of months have been very difficult for the Butler/Rettig family. I wish them all the best. RIP, Marylou. *Policy vs. Politics There is a lot of national coverage of politics. Polling data, campaign stops… the media dissects every word the candidates say in search of a faux pas. Meanwhile, there is much less national coverage of policy. Policies are only seen as political tools. While I love politics, I adore policy! And I think much of the voting populace feels the same way. I hope the old adage, “good policy equals good politics” holds up! Unfortunately, I’m not so sure this is true locally. I know many local voters who have no idea how any Supervisors have voted on any issue. They do not see what one Supervisor promotes and another opposes. The public seems to view us as all the same, despite some deep policy differences. I would love to see more people pay more attention to the actual policy positions of our local elected officials. The differences MATTER! But the message to elected officials is: choose the easiest, least courageous route possible. Because voters do not care about policy. Unfortunately, locally as nationally, politics trumps policy. (Look at the JECC. No citizens hold any individual on that Board accountable for any of their votes.) Sad but true. If you wish to see that change… it starts with you! *Work? Campaign? Personal? We just discussed policy versus politics. Supervisors deal with a similar issue when they engage in certain activities in the community. An example: about seven weeks ago, I volunteered at the ICARE Pancake Breakfast. I have volunteered for this breakfast for quite some time – longer than I have served as a Supervisor. So, was I working? It hardly strikes me as work – it is a volunteer gig. Yet I know some Supervisors would consider it work. Was I campaigning? I suppose a cynic would say that every public appearance by a Supervisor is campaigning. But it did not feel like campaigning to me. I feel as though I was volunteering. (I also bought a ticket, even though volunteers ate free.) That makes it my personal time. I think that is the way the public would want it. But it is not always so clear. Let’s use another example: I attended the Solon Firefighters Pancake Breakfast. While I did not volunteer, I did purchase a ticket, which helps the cause. Working? That would be a tough case to make! Volunteering? Only if you consider eating volunteer work! Campaigning? I would say yes. Another scenario: while at Hy-Vee, three different people each stop a Sup and take ten minutes discussing work-related items. Is that work? If not, what is it? Volunteering? Can you volunteer at your job? (Union rules often strictly prohibit this so no abuses can take place.) Is a Sup working when reading work related materials at home? Is it work to attend a Chamber luncheon? Is it work to just drive some gravel roads? While this might be an interesting exercise for an elected official, it is only important to the public in one way: does the elected official put in enough work? Does she/he get results? Do they accomplish what needs to be accomplished? If you work enough, then it really does not matter if some of your time is spent campaigning and volunteering. Much gets made of the fact that Supervisor is considered a ¾ time position. I have done my own time studies, and while there is no such thing as a “regular” week, I almost always work right around 80 hours every two weeks. While this is more than ¾ time, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration. Supervisors do not punch a clock, so the hours get worked largely when each Sup wants. Some hours are at the office, some are in the community, and some are at home. The flexibility is amazing, and that is worth something. As we all know, there are people who can work 80 hours every two weeks and get nothing done. There are folks who can work less and accomplish more. There are folks who you WISH would work less, because they tend to screw things up. There are those who just go through the motions. Personally, I think anyone who complains about the hours and or the pay should quit whining and take another job. Nobody forces you to run for office. So, what are your thoughts? Maintain the status quo? Make Sups full time and pay them more? Reduce the expectations of time spent for the office? Or do you have another suggestion altogether? *DID YOU KNOW? RAGBRAI has an economic impact of almost $17 million annually. (Source: Iowa Bicycle Coalition.) Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- "Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents. These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


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