BIZPAC looks for life’s winners, not losers

Over the years, BIZPAC has believed that elected officials cannot succeed at the business of governing unless they have the “right stuff”– in politics, that means having the right experience and knowledge to qualify them to create effective public policy.

Candidates and elected officials are entitled to know what BIZPAC and business leaders expect of those we support, so 12 years ago BIZPAC established guidelines and criteria. Our guidelines have been available to all candidates and elected officials since then.

It goes without saying, that honesty and integrity are threshold requirements for any candidate. If a candidate fails here, they’ve failed the test before it starts. The inquiry goes no further. Candidates who cannot govern themselves with integrity have no business governing others.

Governing is not a job for people who lack a record of success in life. Constituents are not guinea pigs for inexperienced and unaccomplished people to conduct experiments in decision-making. Government budgets are nothing like balancing the family checkbook.

BIZPAC has encouraged the business community to seek and support candidates for
office who come closest to meeting these qualifications:

  • Experience in business management; financial and budgeting expertise or knowledge.
  • Experience in personnel matters, especially hiring, firing, promotions, and performance measurement.
  • A willingness to commit to personal and public financial integrity, i.e.:
    -rejecting programs whose financial projections are not actuarially sound and whose costs are not firmly projected in advance;
    -insisting on sound fiscal policies;
    -avoiding debt financing that imposes heavy future financial obligations;
    -following the highest ethical and fiduciary standards in all decisions involving public money.
  • A willingness to promote sound business, management, and financial principles
    within the public agency on which they will serve.
  • A commitment to exercise leadership and courage on the public body to which they were elected. Backbones are a valuable piece of anatomy.
  • A history of leadership and success at whatever they have done in life.
  • A commitment to focus on policy, not operations, administration, or micro-managing.
  • Prior involvement in community service, with knowledge of a broad range of issues, preferably issues connected with the agency on which they will serve.
  • A willingness to establish measurable goals for the agency, a plan for ongoing
    evaluation of goals and employees, and a commitment to make staff accountable.
  • Beware the perpetual candidate, the professional politician. Full-time careers in politics frequently produce poor political leaders, because power twists and warps them.
  • Finally, as Plato believed, a candidate without the life accomplishments and skills required for a good-paying job in the private sector usually is not qualified to be a good public servant. Your politicians will fail you if it can be said of any of them: “This is the best job he/she will ever have.”

Insist on these qualifications before you fork over your money or your vote for a candidate. Handsome faces and beautiful smiles look nice on a poster, but they aren’t worth squat when it’s decision-time on the dais.

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John R. Smith

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