Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Sarah Sweeney
January 9, 2022 

It is strange to think that we are in the third year from when the pandemic was beginning and we had no idea what we were doing or how to respond. We even went so far as to think that it would have dissipated with warmer weather. However, we soon learned that this would not happen. so we had to hunker down and try our best to make it through. As we embark on a new adventure, through variants and a continued pandemic that seems like it will never end, how can we continue to stay motivated as public administrators to make it through? There have been so many ways in which we have changed as a social community—from virtual employment models, remote learning, masking up and physically distancing—that we have changed these actions into habits more so than exceptions. Many employers and communities have even started to roll backward and as public administrators we must remain diligent so that our communities are informed and supported.

A question that I have been asking myself is whether or not we have learned anything from history; more specifically, the last two years of history that COVID-19 has created for us. According to a paper through the Pew Research Center, Americans are split on the benefits and consequences of restrictions and vaccinations that have resulted from COVID-19, and conversations have certainly become increasingly political across all social planes. Unfortunately with the amount of fake news that has prevailed and spread across social media, there have been increasing incidents of mistrust of the scientific community and government relationships. It is our duty to protect and serve our constituents, and we can do that by offering truthful and educated information so they can be informed citizens. So as community leaders and advocates, how do we do that?

Clear and consistent guidance is key to building trust within our communities. Learning how to harness that into powerful, lasting messages to positively impact our neighbors will go a long way in strengthening bonds throughout our communities. An article from Government Executive, Building Trust in Government One Problem at a Time, tells us that crises are local and should be managed accordingly; when we work to find solutions important to the people, we find success in building relationships that last. Collaboration between local city, county and state governments, community partners and the people they represent is vital to securing a path forward. Public administration is about solving the problems our communities face by researching solutions and instituting policies and programs that can work effectively and equitably. We must first understand the concerns and opinions of those we serve in order to be the best leaders we can. We have embarked on a fantastic adventure—public administration. It is important to remain mindful about why we came into this profession so that our motivations do not wane when times get tough. We are the future of government and must remain agile moving forward into an unknown territory that COVID-19 variants will present. No matter the pandemic, epidemic or world crisis, public administration will continue to hold fast the future of government relations. As public administrators, we are guided by duty, professionalism, ethical practice and social justice. We can be the guiding light, the beacon in the dark times ahead. So long as we are truthful and transparent with our communities, we will be successful in our efforts to ensure an informed public.

Author: Sarah Sweeney is a professional social worker and public administrator in Washington State. She may be contacted at [email protected]

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *