The Buck Stops Here

I walked away from my interview with Louisiana city councilman Sal Pollice impressed and somewhat saddened last week.
Pollice’s announcement that he will be leaving the city council this summer is not good news for the city.
The financial expertise Pollice brought to the board and its finance committee is not easy to find. Mayor Tom Wallace was wise to recognize that and appoint Pollice to keep an eye on the city’s budget.
Pollice’s insistence on making certain things more clear to the public in the last budget cycle is what I think small town political service should be about. He also was instrumental in setting up special funds for city vehicles and the sewer and water infrastructure so that Louisiana is not caught flat-footed when the need for those things arises.
He was confident in his approach and did not back down when challenged.
While that was impressive enough, what he said about the future of Louisiana truly struck a chord with me.
Pollice perceives the lack of compromise on the board and between residents as a detriment to the overall good. If it doesn’t improve, he said, things will only get worse in Louisiana.
What somebody thinks about someone else personally, or what their grandma did 30 years ago is a dangerous cloud to be in when progress is at stake. It causes a static situation where little or nothing gets done. Just look at the U.S. Congress for the past few years and you will see a prime example.
But what really got me was this statement from Pollice.
“The older generations needs to listen to the younger generation’s ideas and the and the younger generation needs to listen to the wisdom of the older generation.”
If we had heeded that kind of advice on a national level during the late 1960s, the country would not have been so turbulent.
Forty-five years later, a 35-year-old councilman from Louisiana may not perceive that parallel, but he recognizes the need for working together.
Pollice also told me he was sick of hearing the word “potential” when the talk turned to Louisiana’s future. Potential is worthless unless it is exploited for the city’s good, he said. Otherwise, it’s just semantics.
Pollice also told me he wished more young professionals would get involved in the community and run for the board.
He didn’t verbalize it, but I got the feeling he meant that people on the rise with expertise can do their fellow residents a huge service by applying it to local governmental matters.
Pollice hasn’t been perfect during his 11 months on the board. He was starting to miss too many council meetings and I was about to address that in this space.
The reason was that his job was two hours from here and he often found himself caught when meeting time rolled around. It was understandable but had to be addressed as it was starting to be a disservice to the voters of Ward 1.
But Pollice acknowledged that as one of the reasons for moving to Lincoln, Ill. The fact that his job and council work was taking too much time away from his family also bothered him and we can all understand that.
Pollice said he was upset that he won’t be able to fulfill his term for the voters, but realized he had bitten off more than he could chew.
Young men have been known to do that and I’ve been there, so I won’t criticize him for what transpired.
But I do know that the passion Pollice brought to the city’s restoration is something that is sorely needed and should be sought in future council and mayoral candidates.
It’s a shame to see him go, but it’s completely understandable.
We should applaud his brief but meaningful service.

Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm