A local government dynamic

Went for a job interview last week. I don’t think I got the job though.

There are two observations I’d like to make. The first is that I never perform well when I have a cup of coffee before an interview. The path from my thoughts to my mouth seems awfully short and I catch myself attempting to articulate incomplete sentences.

The second is a dynamic I’ve seen throughout regional local government. It’s a subtle conflict between the professionals who move into a region for a role and those who have lived there most of their lives.

(Admittedly I was wondering about it while watching body language during the time spent in an interview, but I’ve been thinking since on the ways I’ve seen it in my experiences with local government.)

This conflict plays out in various ways but they all share a contrast in perspective. The classic for me was when a general manager tried to put in place timed parking on the main street.

Sometimes it seems people won’t shop at a place unless they can park at the door. It also seems true of people passing through town though, as well as people wanting to park outside their business.

For an outsider it seems obvious that creating opportunity for people passing through town to stop and shop means enforcing timed limits on parking in the main street. For locals that is affront to the community they know. The idea that they might be fined for parking is not something that reflects their experience of their hometown.

Anyway, that’s one example. In various councils I’ve seen varying conflicts between the perspectives of local and visiting professionals. I don’t think the issues are black and white, I think this dynamic reflects a dialectic.