For many years, our region has expressed its concern for a serious “Brain Drain” issue. How do we keep the tens of thousands of our regional university students here upon graduation? How do we formulate a new economy without a properly educated workforce? How do we create an attractive atmosphere where young people can live, work and play? The questions never seem to have clear answers, and the Brain Drain issue waxes and wanes in the light of other regional problems, but today’s article in the Plain Dealer sheds some light on a new way of thinking.
PD report Molly Kavanaugh writes: “Andy Winemiller walked into City Hall last month as a college intern earning $7.50 an hour in Mayor John Romoser’s office. This week, the 21-year-old political science major became the city’s $7,500-a-month service and safety director, a job that has him overseeing one of the region’s more troubled police departments as well as the plowing of city streets.”
Heads are spinning. How can a 21-year-old possibly take on this position? He has no previous city street plowing experience! All joking aside, Mayor Romoser has the right idea. Take a young, ambitious student and give him an opportunity he probably couldn’t find anywhere else.
While the newly-elected Mayor Tony Krasienko said that “having a young, inexperienced safety/service director is just one of many worries he has about his new job” and that he is “looking for someone with government or business experience to take the job in January” he seems to miss the point that given all the problems in this region, the track-record does not prove itself worthy of much consideration. How can we look to the past of NEO as a way of figuring out what to do with its future? Instead, he (and other regional leaders) should focus on acquainting Andy with the problems in his community and give him the chance to explore ways to fix them; surround him with knowledgeable experts that can help him make intelligent decisions. Pave the way for the new generation of leaders instead of shutting the door on a bright future.
Three big hurrahs to Mayor John Romoser! May more follow in your risky visionary footsteps.
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# Submitted by Arnold L. Johnson (not verified) on Sun, 03/16/2008 – 16:45.
Seems we place too much emphasis on leadership and expertise which has translated into has all the answers and makes all the right moves. While it would be nice to have it all in one person, the likelihood of that happening is near zilch. Leaders must rely on others because others are the resources. Also seems it’s a general trend that younger or inexperienced folks are not trusted with the mantel of responsibility. Young folks are expected to hit the ground running, be fully prepared and not need any hand holding (guidance) support. Even with the presidential selection we waste so much time trying to get an outsider who has inside information and inside experience. We want change but predictable change and we want carnal knowledge without sin.
Passing on your knowledge and experience is expected and required, having all the answers is not. Being able to look at old problems with fresh eyes and devising new solutions, priceless. Eventually even Mic Jagger will retire and rock-n-roll will change. Might as well prepare the next generation for what we are leaving them.