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Personality Contradiction Hampers Commissioner Kitchen from being Effective Chairman

Today is the final installment in a three-part series arguing why Commissioner Ron Kitchen should pass along the chairmanship to Commissioner Jeff Kinnard at the Nov. 30 meeting.

However, I have some bad news for you. If you are reading this, chances are that you are disagreeable.

I don’t mean this in the sense that you can’t get along with anyone. You may be the life of a party or the center of attention, but I mean it in the sense of how a psychologist would use it.

There’s a list of personality traits known as the Big Five. These are extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and, of course, agreeableness.

The term in this context means how much you care about what other people think about you. Let me be clear, everyone, including me, cares what people think about them to some extent.

Studies demonstrate this through taking physiological readings while someone is giving a speech. Numbers in front of the person change as the subject is talking.

Some participants are told there is someone in another room controlling the numbers based on how well they like the speech, and the speaker inevitably reacts when the numbers go down. Even when the speaker knows the numbers are random, the body still reacts to seeing the numbers drop. It’s human nature.

In fact, it’s usually the people who try the hardest to tell you that they don’t care what others think who have a high level of agreeableness. And this explains Commissioner Ron Kitchen. He wants to appear disagreeable, but he does care what people think.

It’s this incongruence that makes him a poor chairman but an effective commissioner. What we need is someone who is true to themselves. More on that soon.

But first, let me digress, because the U.S. Constitution is up for sale today. I don’t mean that metaphorically. A first edition copy of the Constitution is expected to sell for around $20 million, which last sold in 1988.

The most interesting part of this story is not that it’s for sale but rather who might buy it. A community of strangers have founded the ConstitutionDAO. The suffix stands for a decentralized autonomous organization.

It’s a governing style that has leadership but gives democratic voting power to each of its members. This is how the Commission works as well. Leadership has power but is still just one of many votes.

My guess is that a disagreeable person came up with the idea to crowdsource the funding for the Constitution. What if the effort failed? What would it look like handling other people’s money while trying to raise $20 million? There’s plenty of questions that would enter someone’s mind who cares about what others think but that wouldn’t matter to a disagreeable person.

If the idea came from one kind of person though, the execution has to come from the other. Only agreeable people would generate enough momentum to get the movement going. These are people who badly care what others think so they tell everyone what they are doing. This passion excites others who follow them.

This is how a movement to buy the Constitution which started as an idea on Sunday night, had raised $3.1 million by Monday evening, then $5.5 million by Tuesday night has now raised over $40 million as of this morning. That is incredible. A community of online strangers might actually buy the Constitution through raising mid-eight figures in just five days.

A local example of this is the animal shelter. Commissioner Ruthie Schlabach is a highly agreeable person. This motivation of external opinion has led to over $2 million in private donations toward the shelter.

We need someone who is true to themselves. While Commissioner Kitchen may argue that he is genuine, and he has been ideologically consistent during most of his tenure, there has always been something off that even his supporters such as myself have trouble defining.

It’s the Ron Kitchen personality contradiction. He is someone who wants to be liked by others, yet who will go to such great lengths to convince you otherwise.

The Census data that will be released over the next year will show population growth in our state and county.

Let’s welcome these people with a voice of our local government that isn’t afraid to admit he wants others to like who he is rather than someone who will talk down to them trying to convince them otherwise.


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