Elected officials in Marshall County’s municipalities begin four-year terms this week.
Ironically, my first day as publisher of The South Reporter was 16 years ago, at this same time.
One of my first events, as far as meeting some of the good people of Marshall County, was the swearing-in ceremony of City of Holly Springs leaders back in 2001.
A column I wrote for the July 19, 2001, newspaper was headlined, “Teamwork means progress for Marshall County.” It was just my second column on page 4 of The South Reporter. I don’t think I’ve missed writing one since.
In quite a few of those 832 columns, I’ve preached about the importance of our elected officials – in the City of Holly Springs, the Town of Byhalia, the Town of Potts Camp and Marshall County working together.
For the most part, it’s held true these 16 years – perhaps never better than right now.
There will always be some ups and downs, some disagreement. Different people bring different opinions to the table.
But then it’s important to put those conflicts aside and proceed with what’s best for the whole – what’s best for each of our municipalities and our county as a whole. It’s called team-building.
Progress the past 16 years in so many areas, particularly economic development, has been phenomenal. And that progress can largely be credited to teamwork – from our elected officials, to the Industrial Development Authority to our Chambers of Commerce and to our citizens. It takes everyone.
And the future looks even brighter.
Sixteen years ago, with that column, I mentioned the “Seven Secrets for Successful Communities,” published by the Heartland Center for Leadership Development.
Here they are again.
1) The attitude of people in leadership may be the most important quality of those communities that view change as a challenge to their abilities to innovate and survive.
2) The community must be willing to take risks, and the public, private and non-profit sectors have to work together, learning from failures and successes alike.
3) In viable communities, people are not waiting for someone else to tell them what to do.
4) Communities must focus on what they can control, not on factors outside their control, such as location.
5) By working together to write down a plan for development, communities can take hold of their own futures and then carry out their plans with specific blueprints for towns, schools, businesses.
6) Communities must be insightful enough to find opportunities where others see threats...to put their competitive advantages forward.
7) Communities need to be able to answer the community development equivalent of the key question in private enterprise – “What business are we in?” They need a vision for the future.
Here’s hoping the next four years for elected officials in Holly Springs, Byhalia and Potts Camp will be good ones, filled with teamwork and progress.