Editorial: Keeping standards raised high

Nov. 18, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

There are not too many times when we have looked north of our border and taken a strong lesson from Canada.

We certainly can take one now. And actually, we didn’t need to look beyond the border either. That just happens to be where the latest example can be found.

Leadership in so many areas of our lives is rightfully being questioned. Whether it is our community or another nearby, or maybe one in our state we just happen to have heard about, the standards are often dropping.

The quick finger points to Raleigh and Washington as well. But those points are more politically motivated as a whole. Still, they are not absent of the scandal and train wrecks in character.

The latest imbroglio is Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto. He admits to smoking crack cocaine. In August, Bob Filner resigned the mayor’s post in San Diego. Sexual harassment allegations were brought against him by 17 women. He’s been charged with felony false imprisonment and two counts of battery.

They are just two among the latest, and headliners because of the size of their respective cities.

We don’t believe these mayors or any other leaders, be it members of a commission or a council or a board that we know, are any different than those they lead. We all make mistakes and we are all held accountable, up to and including in a court of law.

Their difference is in the court of public opinion, something they accept by stepping into the job. Public officials have the ability to set the tone for those that follow them. They can create and greatly influence the existing culture, and that can be positive or negative.

It is similar to the leader of a company or one of its department heads, or the leader within a civic group, or the even the leader of a household. It could be the leader of a ball team.

Yes, there is a different example to be set by leaders. It is one of accountability, and it is one where responsibility is taken for the impact of actions.

And when those actions do not meet the expectations of those who are following, adjustments have to be made.