On the right lane: Leading for the future, not the pasture

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“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” Arnold Glasow, businessman and author

I watched the Windham Town Council workshop June 19 and was somewhat impressed. Be assured it wasn’t all the comments made that impressed me, but some were surely noteworthy. Of course the real determination will be if actual changes take place in order for our local officials to make intelligent decisions in a timely manner.

Before I dig into the meat of what I want to state, I really liked the discussion about Windham having a community center or at least the committee discussion about it before some of town councilors chimed in. What I mean there is that it should be for Windham residents, not a gateway for every tourist or visitor passing through. If that happens, it should be totally funded by its own business proceeds, period.

Another item discussed was council and staff communications, which should have been discussed and voted on Tuesday. I won’t state much because this column was submitted prior to that council meeting and vote. But , as always, I will open my mouth and say Windham town employees must have an outlet for their grievances, and if stymied, there needs to be method to at least review their grievances and solve whatever problem exists. Unfortunately, it is my opinion that recent happenings at Windham Public Works have not been resolved and more than likely not even properly handled, but that doesn’t surprise me. Windham needs an open government and I hope that will happen. If asked I couldn’t tell anyone is this is a true beginning or just another flop. It is time to abolish the council rules to ensure a better work environment in Windham.

So then – and this is really interesting– there was discussion at the workshop about the Town Council agenda being published two weeks before the councilors meet. This is something I have harped about for a couple of decades now. Think about it, if the leadership of Windham, including town councilors and manager, are only capable of setting the agenda for their next meeting (either workshop or formal meeting) less than a week before it is held,  what will happen if Windham and, God forbid, Maine end up facing a major disaster that wasn’t foreseen? All of us have probably heard of what prior planning prevents and it’s high time it happens in Windham.

One example was of a business license being brought to the council at the last minute. Does Windham have any clue as to when business licenses of any type expire, because if it doesn’t, we are still living in the 19th century. But then again, most of the responsibility should fall on the businesses. Now without a doubt something like that is no big thing to add to an agenda, but planning ahead prevents problems. When the council’s agenda comes out on Friday for a Tuesday meeting, that isn’t planning at all. It’s summer and the council plans to have only a couple of meetings a month. Perfect timing to try something new. It’s either that or they forgot their objective was to drain the swamp and now they’re up to their waists in alligators.

Meanwhile, due to some recent horror stories my wife and I want to change our electricity provider under Maine’s cockamamie system that only Frankenstein could have created. Remember the many promises of fixing Maine’s high costs for electricity? Well, that hasn’t happened and apparently is getting worse. For example, Central Maine Power will more than likely run transmission lines from Canada, through Maine and guess what? Best I can figure out is that not one Mainer will connect to it. So let’s just keep producing electricity by the most expensive means possible with a system few fully understand.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham believes politicians for life should move to the Space Kingdom of Asgardia.