Leadership: Everyday Business Business Versus the Future!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 23, 2004

A great presidential speechwriter and adviser, Theodore Sorensen once said that there were two kinds of leadership in public life: transactional and transformational.  Transactional leadership is concerned with basic, everyday service.    Transformational leadership is that which is required to build for the future. In my opinion, both are necessary for great public leadership.

Providing transactional leadership ensures that constituents are served well in terms of basic services.  Without solid transactional performance and leadership, it is unlikely that much of anything transformational can be attempted or done.  Assuming good performance on the basic duties of public life, the obvious mandate for any public official seems to be doing what it takes to change the way business is done in order that we provide for the future.  This speaks to the constant in life: change.  This is not change for the sake of change; it is change for the sake of a future!

In the realm of transactional leadership, as your Commissioner I have attempted to deliver a broad range of plain old good government regarding basic services of the County.  This begins with an outstanding staff, but also involves among many other things, efforts to respond to constituent correspondence by e-mail and regular mail as well as telephone calls.  This includes a multitude of attended events and this community newspaper column.  It also includes my outstanding Precinct Four Commissioner's web site, which my staff and I have designed to provide ongoing information and access to web-enabled constituents.

In the realm of transformational leadership, I have attempted to exercise leadership in the areas of energy, resource recovery, our bloated jail population, fiscal policy of the County, performance and proper compensation of the "County Team", our employees.  In the area of energy, it is critical that we provide for the coming changes that will be made necessary to survive and thrive in the future.  Our current sources of gasoline are from places distant, uncertain and hostile.  Our current use of electricity should be diminished by conservation and renewable forms of energy.

With respect to resource recovery, I have spent a lifetime it seems fighting landfills in the Southern Sector.  I have found obnoxious the current practice of accepting out of Bexar County wastestream in our urban county from rural, land-rich counties and even from Mexico's twin-plants projects.  It also seems that my upbringing and basic value system suggest that conservation of resources currently being buried is a mandate of my public life.  Chief Seattle said that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Taking on the ingrained history of Bexar County's bloated jail population is fundamental to good government.  Failing to do so means that for reasons that have nothing to do with public safety or justice, we would spend tens of millions unnecessarily to incarcerate because our system lacks the discipline to do otherwise.  Over-incarcerating also needlessly generates disfunction into the community in terms of unemployment and expensive social services. 

Likewise, the retention and cutting of the effective tax rate, which is lower than the actual tax rate, while not the only measure of fiscal responsibility, it is I believe a step in the right direction.  It seems to me that the best tax relief arises from a well-managed and disciplined budget process.  The retention and fortification of a good if not a great County workforce, continues to make progress.

Working with each of you, we can and will continue to improve our 168 year-old, Republic of Texas County!

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