From Terri Callahan, Director of Kansas Certified Public Manager ® Program
Dear Public Servants,
This is Public Service Recognition Week, and I want to thank you for your commitment to public service.
It is in the public service arena that we strive to make a difference and provide a better life for those we serve. We serve because service itself is at the heart of who we are, and we lead with hope and optimism because we believe in our mission and purpose regardless of the adversity that comes our way. We may never know the full impact of our service on lives and the communities we serve, but we continue to serve because we believe in public service. What would happen if the public did not have ___________ (fill in your career/position)?
There is a quote from Robert F. Kennedy (June 6, 1966) called Ripples of Hope. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Thank you for your public service!
I have to admit that growing up in Kansas I was never really interested in government or politics. Political jargon and discourse were incomprehensible and bewildering. Candidates spoke in vague generalities or made emotional appeals that simply did not register on my attention/interest radar. But through the years (though it’s only my fourth time being old enough to vote in a presidential election), and now as an MPA student, the puzzle started to piece together. This particular election year coincided with the awakening of the policy analyst in me as I was enrolled in Public Policy and Administration. We discussed topics related to policy development/implementation/frameworks, agenda settings, forming coalitions, and knowing your stakeholders. We also discussed characteristics of being a great leader in the public service arena. Obviously, there is no leadership position and responsibility loftier than the POTUS.
So, as I began habitually to watch broadcast news and other media reports, the significance and consequences of foreign and domestic policies became dramatically apparent. Every aspect of our lives is steeped in policies and their effects. We depend upon government to operate efficiently for our safety, protection, health, livelihood, and progress. It is the duty of government to create/revise policies that effectively address broad citizen concerns and needs. During any election cycle, and pointedly in the recent presidential election, we are boldly solicited, “Vote for me because I have the answers” and “If you elect me, I will fix everything.” Of course, in our representative democracy, no one person assumes praise or blame for the course of our nation. What has become most annoying, however, has been the hardened stance of party “leaders” that has produced the “brinkmanship” we suffer. Who is willing to compromise/negotiate for the greater good? I WANT to believe that elected officials are working for the wellbeing of our country and not for their own narrow/rigid/personal policy agendas. Whose foundation for arguments/position consists of cold facts, credible evidence, and consensus opinion?
by Kristin Kelly
This story on National Public Radio caught my attention this morning.This week, 1,100 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, sixty-five years after they served in World War II by testing and delivering planes to free male pilots for combat.
It’s a very dramatic example of the important–often unrecognized–work that happens in the public sector. What stories of unsung heroes can you share from your departments and agencies?