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Anderson: Teamwork is Good Politics

By Bob Anderson

Anderson refers to the English proverb, “Many hands make for light work” and in the Bible we find many examples of this.
For example, Jesus Himself allowed Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross after Him.

While “don’t complain, don’t explain” is a good saying to live by, sometimes, even in politics, you have to speak up to set things straight.

It has become increasingly popular for the critics (the frustrated and the few) of the City Council to refer derogatorily to the council as “that three member majority.”

Specific council members aren’t named but I get the point, they’re referring to council members Sam Fruscione, Glenn Choolokian and myself.

Politics – an eight-letter word – works best when it’s paired with another eight letter word: TEAMWORK.

Teamwork is a good thing. It means cooperation instead of confrontation, it means moving forward not slipping backward and it means a good outcome instead of bad result. Teamwork is unity and effort joined to a common goal. I have a simple equation that has guided me over time: COOPERATION plus CONTRIBUTION equals PROGRESS.

I’m proud of what the City Council has achieved through teamwork in the last 13 months. We: banned the importation of fracking waste water; held down taxes; set political party egos aside while working with elected state officials on a number of issues; outlined a demolition plan; protected city services; led city government as early supporters of the Wallenda walk; wrote the demolition contractor ordinance; and, never shied away from saying what had to be said as representatives of the good people of this struggling city. No matter how smart you or I may think we are, we never have all the answers. None of us have all the skills it takes to make a joint effort – whether in politics or any part of life - succeed, but most of us do the backend busting work that’s needed to get the job done: it’s called teamwork and everyone has to chip in to see the mission through to the end.

Some may be inspirational talkers, others are thinkers. In politics if you’re unable to grasp the value of teamwork and the art of compromise, you’ll enter the game frustrated and leave the game more frustrated. Politics is the most imperfect of pursuits and it makes no sense to approach it as if it’s possible to get everything you want. Life experience tells me that a person never gets everything they want. To grasp this fact is the difference between achieving like an adult and being frustrated like a child. It’s also the difference between being an effective elected representative and an ineffective one.

There is no “I” in teamwork but there is a great big goose egg - “O” - at the end of the word ego; what we get when our ego guides our decisions. Not everyone gets to pilot the plane but the entire flight crew is critical to mission success. My Air Force career, competitive sports and my service through the CSEA taught me the importance of being a part of something greater than myself: it taught me the value of cooperation and teamwork.

And, a zero is exactly that.

Whether it’s a sports team, a corporate sales team or the City Council, the only way to get the job done is through a coordinated effort of the majority. The sideline sitters and the rock tossing critics are always going to be a part of the scenery, but they will never stop positive momentum and good government whether it’s in Niagara Falls, Albany or Washington.

This city is seriously challenged and the eventual casino arbitration outcome may be the only thing standing between our current bad situation and a disaster future situation. We need everyone pulling together in Niagara Falls so let’s emphasize the positive, minimize the negative and practice real teamwork.

Many hands make for light work and there’s more than enough work to go around in our hometown.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jan 15 , 2013