Community Deserves Principled Plan, Not Individual Trust



I am not perfect. This should be breaking news to no one, although the fact that I'm willing to admit it may count as breaking news for my wife. I started the Concurrent both as a business venture and as a pursuit of lofty ideals.


In business terms, the Concurrent’s purpose was to fill a market need. Misinformation is spreading in Citrus because of the understandable paywall requirements needed to sustain the traditional newspaper model.


But in this modern age with multimedia delivery platforms of all kinds never more than an arm’s reach away, our local media market, as small as it may be, can welcome a free, predominantly online outlet for those who want to stay informed on the go. It is a complement to the Chronicle; not a competitor.


The Concurrent is not just a business, however. There are principles and a purpose at play. Media audiences retreat into the familiar, seeking news that confirms previously held beliefs rather than narratives that challenge their perception of the world. The Concurrent’s mission is to be thought-provoking, which is not always the easiest path.


While the Chronicle believes in individuals, the Concurrent puts emphasis on ideologies.


The Chronicle has advocated for raising the sales tax in the past, and continues to use pseudo-public relations tactics to bolster the political career of Commissioner Ruthie Schlabach - the most vocal advocate for raising the sales tax.


The Chronicle’s thought process makes sense on the surface. Three commissioners representing a majority voting bloc, Schlabach, Holly Davis and Jeff Kinnard have a like-minded view of the community and will have control for at least three years regardless of what happens in 2022. The conclusion seems to be to advocate for giving them all the money they need, through fee hikes and tax increases, to make the community better while we have people in there we can trust.


I trust all three of them, despite our disagreements, to have what’s best for the community in mind. But it’s not about individuals, it’s about ideology.

ADVERTISEMENT


While the individuals may know and be capable of making changes in the community, that is still not worth the biggest change of all - that increasing the financial burden on its citizens is necessary for those changes to occur.


I believe in this principle - that our country, and the prevailing conservative ideology of our county, is such that we are founded on freedom and every time the government increases burden on its citizens then it runs counter to these fundamental individual freedoms. We elevate this principle over the belief in people, even those we trust, and this is the purpose of the Concurrent.


It is in pursuit of this purpose to challenge and promote ideas that I try to downplay my personal role in the Concurrent. However, one area of my many imperfections comes from being ego-driven enough to be publishing all the content personally, even though I welcome voices from the community as well. It’s a careful curation of the voice that I’m currently unwilling to give up.


If I truly believe in the mission, then the goal should be to uplift others who share the vision. Movements need communities even more than they need leaders.


Our communities, however, need a succession plan for their leaders. I’m not the only one guilty of ego-driven leadership, though those who join me in this flaw do have oversight and it’s time those governing bodies acted.


The County Commission needs to set a deadline to fill the assistant county administrator seat and the Inverness City Council should hire an assistant city manager. Just as I do with the three commissioners, I think incredibly highly of County Administrator Randy Oliver and City Manager Eric Williams personally, so highly in fact that I think both the city and the county would suffer an immense regression if either were to vacate their positions.


Yet that’s probably why neither is motivated to find an assistant. Political headwinds can change rapidly and impulsive councils and commissions can fire administrators at any time. There’s great job security in knowing you’re irreplaceable. This isn’t the fault of either administrator. They work for, but don’t represent the people. Their elected governing bodies do.


Those elected officials need to place more emphasis on the idea that proper succession is what’s best for the community rather than continue to put sole faith in the individual, regardless of how capable they are. Fidelity to principle, above all else, overrides my faith in people.


A 750 word column about Citrus County published every Thursday and Sunday