This is my last column, and I would like to note that writing it is one of the toughest tasks a commissioner faces—LOL!
As a lifelong Mt. Lebanon resident, I enjoyed benefits of decisions made by local elected officials for years before I was elected a Commissioner. Growing up, I didn’t think much about who made the decisions, but I appreciated the results—interesting architecture, good schools, well-maintained streets and sidewalks, nice parks, a great library and excellent recreation facilities including the pool, tennis center and, of course, the golf course, which played a role in my becoming a PGA golf professional.
As an adult and taxpayer raising a family in Mt. Lebanon, I became aware of the importance of getting good value on my investment—being sure public dollars were spent judiciously. Still, I didn’t realize how tough it is for elected officials to allocate funding in a town with many needs and just as many viewpoints at to how money should be spent.
When I was elected, it quickly became clear that running a town like Mt. Lebanon is no easy chore for the Commissioners who set policy or the staff that carries it out. There never is enough money to meet all the perceived community needs, and there rarely is public agreement as to how the money should be spent. The amount of information commissioners need to process in order to make decisions is staggering, but I plowed through it, knowing I needed to make informed decisions I could sleep with, albeit sometimes with high blood pressure.
In office, I tried to be respectful of the ideas of my fellow commissioners and to participate in a dialogue in which all viewpoints were aired so that the decisions ultimately reached—sometimes compromises—were good for the public. I came to appreciate our talented, experienced municipal staff—professional public servants who carry out commission decisions and make us look good. And I can’t say enough about the good work performed by the volunteer members of our boards and authorities. The Commission could not make informed decisions without the input of these citizens, who serve the community simply because they care.
I take great pride in what this Commission has accomplished. I am especially pleased to have been a part of great programs that honor our veterans and to beating the state on mandates that could cost so much in the future, such as stepping up our efforts on sanitary and storm water management and doubling road reconstruction and resurfacing.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have served and can attest that every vote I cast was based on principles I believe best meet the community’s needs. I hope that as a Commissioner I have made a positive impact that will help Mt. Lebanon thrive for years to come.
Four years ago when a friend asked me to run for Commission, I never expected to win, but I followed the advice of my committee and knocked on every door in my ward, Ward 2. It was the best part of the process, for I met so many wonderful residents on my journey. I thank the residents, the staff and my fellow commissioners for their friendship, support, patience, hard work and creative ideas.
Based on personal experience, I would suggest that every resident invest in the community by getting involved in some way—on an advisory board or perhaps as an elected official. Thank you for putting your trust in me. I look forward to opportunities to serve the community in other ways. Good luck to all.