Road complainers still deserve good service

    Complaints about county roads are nothing new, but they’ve taken on a life of their own in Crawford County recently. The lead paragraph in a story published in this week’s Cuba Free Press and Steelville Star-Crawford Mirror said it all.


    “Crawford County Commissioners have been facing a nearly constant stream of complaints about road conditions in the county, many on social media sites, with most people expressing dissatisfaction not only with the conditions, but also with the response or lack of response they have received from county officials on the matter.”
    As the phrase famously goes, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please anyone when it comes to the maintenance of their road.” Wait…something like that.
    Complaining about how your street, highway, or road is maintained—whether it be gravel or paved, summer or winter—is a time-honored tradition. If you are in charge of maintaining those roads, you should be used to hearing it and trying to do your best to please the taxpayers by making the roads as good as possible. And most importantly, fix major problems in a timely manner as soon as they are reported or discovered.
    There are likely many reasons why people are complaining about their roads this year. It’s been a wet year so their roads are probably in worse shape than they have been in years. Pointing out the obvious, however, doesn’t make people any happier about their roads.
    During all the recent discussion about road conditions, however, one complaint that was levied in a recent letter to the editor hasn’t been addressed by our elected officials. And, it should be.
    One reader recently wrote “Numerous calls to the District 2 shed have gone unanswered and no one answers the phone, just leave a message.”
    Is that all the taxpayers deserve? Leave a message.
    And this is not a new problem. People have been complaining for years that no one ever answers the phone at the District #2 shed and that they leave messages on the answering machine and never get a response. This has apparently been going on even well before District #2 Commissioner Jared Boast was even elected.
    With all the modern telecommunications equipment we have at our fingertips today, making people leave a message on an answering machine and then never getting a call back is unacceptable. Our elected officials have to make things better than that.
    There should be multiple ways for people to contact both their road crew workers and commissioners, from texts and email to website submission forms and phone calls. And every effort should be made to not only answer phone calls when they come in, but to return them as soon as possible. It’s almost like nobody at Road District #2 has ever heard of call forwarding.
    Taxpayers not only deserve good roads, but also good customer service.

Develop local school leadership
    It was a bit disheartening Saturday morning to learn that the Cuba School District was having to search for another new superintendent. It will be the third one in the last three years.
    While many of Cuba’s recent superintendents have been promoted from within the district, they have not been developed from within the district on a long-term basis. In other words, they came to Cuba from somewhere else and then they left rather quickly for somewhere else after having served as superintendent.
    The district is taking steps to hopefully change that trend in the future, expanding its administrative internship program this year with at least four current employees working to improve their administrative skills under the care of a current administrator. That’s a great way to develop a future superintendent who will be invested in Cuba and stay for the long haul.
    Several area school districts have been great success in hiring local superintendents—former superintendent Mike Whittaker in Steelville and current Superintendent Tim Webster in St. James come immediately to mind. And that’s not to say that superintendents hired from outside the district have not done a good job. It’s just that it would be nice to have them around a bit longer and having deep local roots makes that more possible.