This past week, I’ve had the privilege of covering the Webster Parish School Board and the Webster Parish Police Jury. With my “reporter hat” on, I’ve watched, listened and taken note of the happenings of these governmental bodies.
I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve witnessed. A spirit of cooperation is an ongoing theme of these bodies, both in their interaction with each other, and their interaction with other entities and the public.
I’ve watched people like Police Jury President Jim Bonsall listen to concerns from constituents, not to “shut them up,” but to learn of their needs and offer an answer — even if that answer is “I don’t know.” The response is never condescending, but thoughtful and genuine, with a promise of resolution, one way or another.
I’ve seen Webster Parish School Superintendent Johnny Rowland take issues head on, not shying away from the negative, but also highlighting progress being made, and plans for future success. In addition, the members of the Webster Parish School Board offer insight and recommendations aimed at overall improvement.
I’ve seen Minden Mayor Tommy Davis offering to work with the Webster Parish Police Jury in the realm of economic development because “What’s good for the Parish is good for Minden, and vice versa.”
These observations, and my commentary on them, are not a “rah rah” or a “puffing up” of the aforementioned public bodies. However, this attitude of cooperation, and shall I say, “collaboration,” are vital for the future growth and wellbeing of our community.
As someone who has witnessed cooperation versus conflict among the entities to our west, I can say the former is more beneficial than the latter.
I’ve watched as Bossier Parish grew and innovated, while Shreveport argued and stagnated. While not all that noticeable in the short run, over a 17-year period of time, the results are dramatic.
While Shreveport was arguing whether or not to build an area or a convention center, Bossier constructed a 14,000-seat CenturyLink Center. While Shreveport was arguing over a dog park, Bossier reached out and landed a Fortune 500 tech company in CSRA.
While Shreveport argues, Bossier grows. When Shreveport does decide to work together, good things still happen. Just look as some of the things going on in their downtown.
Cooperation produces positive results. It’s pretty much that simple.
What does the future hold for Webster Parish? No one has a crystal ball for that. However, I can say with a great deal of confidence that if the cooperation I’ve seen over the past week is continued over the long haul, the days ahead of us will surely be better than the days behind us.
Keep up the good work, folks.