Orlando elected leaders are to blame for low community engagement at meetings and on boards

The paper reported morning that the community will be getting together for a series of “table talks” in Central Florida that look to get everyday people involved with issues in the region and to bolster civic engagement (story HERE).

That same article also points out that the region has a “lousy scorecard” when it comes to civic engagement. Things like joining neighborhood groups and contacting local politicians.

And it’s those local politicians that are to blame.

On Monday, I went to an Orlando City Council meeting at 2pm. On Tuesday, a meeting of the Orange County Commission, where they handed millions of dollars over to a tourism agency that didn’t need it (story HERE), which started at 9am and rolled through bankers hours to do so.

And state lawmakers hold their delegation meetings in the middle of the day during the week and the opportunity to address all of them at the same time is especially rare.

No wonder people can’t get involved. These meetings take place when they’re at work. And it’s like that all over Central Florida.

Board openings? The good openings go to the politically connected. The rest are so poorly advertised with an application process that is so clunky, that many of the openings never get filled.

This is because the local leaders aren’t leading. So now, the community has to do it itself.

Sad really.

I normally like to recommend a course of action, but with the difficult conditions that have prompted low engagement to begin with, it’s tough.

What you need to do is email, call, or if you happen to see them out and about, tell your local council members, commissioners, and state lawmakers that they need to be more accessible.

Then maybe we don’t have to do everything ourselves and these politicians can lead like they’re supposed to.


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