PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Opinion

October 15, 2013

It’s time for collaboration

PORT ARTHUR — Collaboration is unequivocally the most substantial variable necessary to the attainment of any collective goal.  Our current city manager, Floyd T. Johnson, placed emphasis on this at the last Chamber of Commerce Leadership breakfast held on Sept. 24 at the Holiday Inn here in Port Arthur.  This raises a few questions.  The first is, who are the willing participants?  Secondly, what are barriers that prevent collaboration?  Last but certainly not least, what will we need to get through the barriers?  

During the course of this article, you will notice me moving from one topic to another and vacillating from one ideology to another as I build a case that supports my central theme of getting on with collaborations for the benefit of all Port Arthur residents.  Starting with a positive reflection would be the “Share a Plant” occasion hosted by the Beautification Commission of Port Arthur for which I am an appointed commissioner.  This was my first year participating, or even being aware of the annual event which recognizes a challenge and offers viable, cost effective solutions.  

I was very pleased to be associated with the efforts of this organization and intend to be an effective contributing member throughout my appointment.  Present at the event was a master gardener to offer professional guidance for the successful growth of a multiplicity of plants in various colors and sizes.  The plants were in abundance and totally free to attendees.

 The next event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the same location, the Jefferson County Subcourthouse, 500 Fourth St.  It is a national event during USA Weekend called “Make a Difference Day,” and will run from 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.  During this time we will be revitalizing planters on the Boardwalk and in front of the police station.  Come on out and contribute to a worthy cause that honors your city and ancestors.  It is written in the most purchased books of all time that we should honor our parents in order to experience length of days on the earth.  What better way to do this than to ensure the scenery surrounding our elders is beautiful to enjoy during their golden years?

Now, while I applaud the acts of collaboration on the part of the beautification commission, unfortunately I must remain hopeful that the members of the Port Arthur City Council who appointed us put on their leadership suits that reveals a genuine nature of progress orientation.  Several months ago I published an article which articulated the potential to have the labor for street repair sponsored by the county of Jefferson in partnership with the city of Port Arthur.  Now the article I am referring to was published long before the arrival of the new city manager.  After speaking with County Commissioner Michael “Shane” Sinegal, I have learned that he has never been presented with a proposal to act on this available option.  How could this be that the Mayor and Commissioner spent time, approximately four years, on Port Arthur city council together, so they are both very familiar with the challenges we face; yet time keeps passing and no plans are being presented by the city for the county’s consideration.  This type of attitude is not indicative of a collaborative spirit which is what we absolutely must have to be successful in our efforts.  When personalities take precedence over objectives we can only get where we currently are.

I understand now that infra-structure must precede street repair to yield quality community growth with minimized potential for back lash.  I learned this also while listening to the vision of the city manager at the leadership breakfast mentioned earlier.  I wholeheartedly support the methodical route Mr. Johnson is taking; however, I also believe that if mention of partnering with the county would have been presented to him, he would have made every effort to accommodate the wishes of the council and reported his intentions to the public.  

With five seats coming up for re-election or replacement this next year, I think the community should strongly consider placing candidates whom they have thoroughly interviewed to decipher their ability to collaborate for the welfare of the citizens as opposed to the welfare of themselves as they did when they approved the supplement of insurance premiums at the expense of their constituents while simultaneously leaving those same constituents with substandard infra-structure and reprehensible roads.

Anthony McDaniel is a resident of Port Arthur. Contact him at ajmcdaniel1@live.com

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