Checklist for elected officials

Congratulations. You have been elected to public office.

Whether you are new to the workings of civic management or a veteran returning to the halls of government there is a secret you need to know – your constituents have expectations of you.

For your benefit, as well as those who placed you in office, we have compiled a list of requirements you should keep in mind and practice as often as possible.

• Be honest and straightforward. Good luck with that one. It is easy to promise and anticipate complete honesty during a campaign. But the culture of representation tends to suck participants into an existence of bending the truth and slanting stories to make things look better, or worse, than they actually are. The people who put you in office are all adults. Treat them as such.

• Do not insult our intelligence. Remember that what you do is mostly a matter of public record. If you want to be a success on the job don’t talk down to your constituents or attempt to confuse them with garbled information.

• Demonstrate your work with results. The people of southern Louisiana are increasingly dissatisfied with idealistic projections or scenarios of what might be. Your constituents want to know the bottom line of how decisions will impact them on a daily basis.

• Politics are local. Just because it might sound look good on paper in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C., does not mean it will be a right fit for Houma, Thibodaux or Morgan City.

• Remember that we will be ready to vote again at the end of your term.

Welcome to the job of a public servant. Study your job description and public expectations, be true to them and you should be able to survive.