As Berlin Town Councilman Thom Gulyas confessed in this week’s story about his resignation from the council, he thought he knew a great deal more about the workings of town government before he became a part of it in 2014.
That’s when he realized how much he didn’t know and how much he had to learn quickly to become an effective member of the council. Obviously, he got up to speed in short order, because that was the job he had pledged to do.
Gulyas’s admission that his initial opinion of government’s function was off the mark is refreshing at a time when a favored pastime of many people is to produce theories and conjecture to back up what already believe.
Gulyas, however, set aside his preconceived notions about how town government operated and went about his duties with an open mind.
What he discovered, as he admitted in this week’s interview, was that local government wasn’t being guided by secret agendas and ulterior motives, but that elected officials truly did put the interests of citizens first.
Naturally, political self-interest is always present in representative government, and the opinions of elected officials will vary according to their own interpretations of the information presented to them.
But as Gulyas opines, local government officials, whether they’re right or wrong and whether they agree or disagree, do try to do the right thing.
Although the councilman can point to numerous accomplishments during his time on the council, his best parting gift to Berlin residents is his honest acknowledgment that his opinions of government going in weren’t as well-founded as they might have been, and certainly aren’t the same as the perspective he takes with him as he departs.
His frank assessment of his own changing views should allay some of the concerns of citizens who find it convenient to believe that local government is always out to get them.