Hiring isn’t all that easy

One of the advantages of private enterprise is that individuals running business can conduct process, procedure, and make decisions the way they want. Except in instances of huge corporate bureaucracies, choices are often simple, direct and if others don’t like it that is not your problem.

When business executives become either elected to or appointed to public office the rules change.

Great ideas made over lunch that previously benefited by making telephone calls or sending email messages to all involved and acting as soon as possible might be expedient, but because of the requirements to offer adequate public awareness, and comply with sunshine and open meeting laws, those good private business practices can be bad representative business policy, even if the intentions are respectable.

Parish council seats and state office elections await Louisiana voters with a qualifying period on Sept. 6-8, primary ballots being cast on Oct. 22 and the statewide general election on Nov. 19.

In the Tri-parish region, parish council seats and other offices are coming up for election. So are offices for the state House of Representatives and Senate, with new district lines and constituents confusing in some cases what were the way things always have been.

Incumbents, many learned the hard way, realize what to expect regarding public scrutiny. New candidates, many of whom will be business owners and executives, need to start doing their homework on policy, procedure and appropriateness once they commit themselves to the transition from private citizen to public figure. Because the way they respond to situations and address issues can either build or destroy public confidence.

Members of the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority, all of whom are appointed to serve as a public business enhancement agency for Terrebonne Parish, have been learning the lessons of due process in public office. Some of those lessons have, during the past two weeks, resulted in disagreement and embarrassment.

Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business” when speaking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1925. What occurred four years later became an example of what could happen when business practices and public policies collide.

Like it or not, business and public office do have instances of crossover. When that happens, it becomes a concern of how each is operated to succeed individually or fail all together.