In the latest blog post for Life, Well Run (an ICMA initiative), Brandon Kowalke, graduate intern in Wheaton, Illinois, explains how one service that local government provides reveals the complex nature of local government itself. An excerpt of that post is below; the full post is available at the Life, Well Run blog.
“I’m sure that some of us can recall moments in life when we stop and think, “Wow, that’s how this works? How have I gone so long without knowing that?” Perhaps sitting down to do your taxes for the first time dispels some of the “mystery” behind that withholding line on your paycheck. Maybe you woke up to a flat tire, googled what to do, and were absolutely thrilled to learn how to use the iron and jack hidden somewhere in the trunk. There are many complex systems in our world, from those that collect your taxes to those that ensure your car comes equipped to handle a flat tire.
For me, nothing was quite so eye-opening as the realization that behind almost every city, there exists a team of professionals with a staggering variety of skills to take care of their communities. Among them are accountants, police officers, engineers, sign makers, electricians, urban planners, firefighters, and so many others. When I take a step back to think about a community’s many needs, it comes as no surprise that our local governments have a set of responsibilities just as varied.”