Flexibility: Council members display proper attitude

Politicians have a lot of grand ideas and make big promises on the campaign trail. Voters send them into office hopeful they will be able to fulfill that promise. But almost inevitably, politicians find out they had no idea what they did not know, before winning an election for the first time.

To their credit, members of Parkersburg City Council appear to be, for the most part, willing to learn and adapt; rather than march ahead with unrealistic goals that would simply make governing more difficult.

For example, Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl, who as a candidate held hopes about cutting fire and police fees and eliminating the user fee, seems willing now to acknowledge that is not feasible.

In fact, as details emerge about the city’s needs regarding police and fire pension liabilities, and those who had the luxury of running for office with limited information find out there will need to be spending cuts and new revenue found, Kuhl and others on council are coming to the realization that “(constituents) are going to hate us, if you don’t already,” she said.

Such candor is admirable, and does more to endear councilmembers to Parkersburg residents than continuing to tilt at windmills.

“We in City Council took this job because we care very much about the City of Parkersburg and what happens to the people,” said Councilman Bob Mercer. “Bear with us. We’re trying very hard to do the right thing.”

If they keep approaching problems with the attitude that they have more to learn and need to be flexible, they just might.