I wrote this before but it seems like many of us need to hear it again.
illustration by Ammon Perry

illustration by Ammon Perry

Too many of our elected think they’re the bosses.

That’s not necessarily true, though, is it, that elected official equals the boss? There are leaders everywhere, unelected peoples who step forward and people follow them and believe in them. As a matter of fact, the City of Harrisburg is simmering with emerging leaders who are rising from the base of the community, committed and devoted to the overall cause to make Harrisburg better. A groundswell from the ground up.

It has to be that way or otherwise the City will continue teetering on an unstable foundation, and it’s really only a matter of time until the cracks and fissures can’t and won’t be filled in.

Both Stephen Reed and Linda Thompson as mayors demonstrated the opposite approaches. Initiatives and projects were expected to come from the top down. They both believed “the Mayor” is the boss of the City.

Does Eric Papenfuse and his administration share that belief? We’re still getting a sense of that but what we do know is that the city needs all the help it can get.

Of course, more money is needed to get more done, but what’s also needed is a different approach to the ways we have always done things in the City.

No more do we need only top down action. Instead we need cooperation and partnerships.

No more do we need nepotism and favoritism. Instead we need fresh faces and reinforcements.

In order for there to be more successes around here, we have to work from the ground up to find the most qualified and proven representatives of the community. It’s time that the citizens encourage and let the real leaders step up and be leaders. Just because they don’t come out of City Hall doesn’t mean they can’t do an effective job for the public will. Just because they aren’t elected doesn’t mean they aren’t devoted and focused on the common good. It doesn’t mean they can’t head a project that makes Harrisburg better.

The ones who can do it well will if the city gives them the support to do so.

If new concepts of “leadership” are given a chance to emerge, the City of Harrisburg will truly flourish, and the citizens will know who to support. They’ll know because real things will be getting done, things that can be noticed like clean streets, vacant buildings rehabbed, new businesses, beautified blocks, and safe corners.

There will be a difference in the world when a resident steps out the door. More people will join the cause. And the City will change after not changing for far too long.

Because our leaders don’t have to be elected.

Tara Leo Auchey

Tara Leo Auchey

Creator & editor of today's the day Harrisburg, started in 2009. Resident, engaged citizen, community activist, teacher, strategist, writer.
Tara Leo Auchey