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Not the time for petty politics

There should always be room to seek answers from political officials and bring “sunlight” to government proceedings. We, the people, have the right to know what our elected officials are doing with our tax dollars and how they are leading our towns, counties, states and country.

Disagreement can occur, as people have differing opinions, leadership styles, backgrounds and trains of thought. When disputes arise, leaders should then come together and solve the problems with debate and compromise, one not being effective without the other.

Look no further than the recently signed contract between the Essex County employees union, CSEA, and the county, where both sides openly admitted that they did not get everything they wanted, but came to a compromise with the best interest of all involved.

In this case, however, the battle lines that have been drawn have seldom been solely about only the issues. The tone of letters and statements from both camps has increasingly turned personal, sarcastic and even a little hateful toward one another. The monthly call-and-response that is playing out on local editorial pages has devolved into a “are too, are not,” name-calling, playground war of words. While some of the participants in this dance have maintained the high road, others exited that path and the time has come for this senseless squabble to end.

What is playing out is the type of politics that we find unacceptable in Washington and in Albany, with people unwilling to lose themselves in the greater good and instead placing more emphasis on the letter that follows their last names. People engaged in government need to be less concerned with party politics and more concerned with the politics of the people. That’s when work gets done, when people work together and set aside their personal agenda for the common good. That doesn’t happen under a Hatfield vs. McCoy clash for power.

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