The truth can be a hard thing to take, particularly if it is unpleasant. And especially if it is true.

The truth is that it is easier to get a bad reputation than it is to get rid of one. And right now, Fairfield County seems to have one, and in the worst places.

As representatives from the School District, County Council, the State Legislature and the towns of Winnsboro and Ridgeway (the Town of Jenkinsville was a no-show) gathered at the District Office for their regular intergovernmental meeting – a catered, informal sit-down where our political players play nice – they learned very quickly that their internal squabbles were no longer just the worst-kept secret in Fairfield County. According to the junior member of our state legislative delegation, our District 41 House representative, Fairfield County has a reputation in the Capital City, and it is not a good one. Fairfield is known, she said, for a lack of collaboration.

For a newly elected representative, barely into her first term, it took a lot of courage to stand up and tell people who have been in their various offices for years that their style of leadership, their tradition of amicable disharmony, was infamous among people who might otherwise be of considerable assistance in shaping the economic future of the county. She put it as delicately as it could be put, and she didn’t just leave it hanging there. It wasn’t a scolding, after all, or a mere admonishment, but instead an entreaty. ‘I plead with everyone here,’ she said, ‘to get past that, to make relationships right among one another.’

Relationships are what make things go, and we need only to look at the County’s new industrial parks to see that things are at full stop. There are a lot of What-Ifs and Maybes in Fairfield County, and no amount of nuclear reactor money is going to magically catapult us into the glorious future until our leadership understands that we are all on the same team and working for the same people. Disagreements and differences of opinion are to be expected, but if your ox is in a ditch, leadership can’t waste precious weeks arguing on where to buy the rope with which to pull that ox out.

Togetherness: It’s what keeps us from being apart. Without it, we are but scattered fragments of clockwork, gears and springs and coils spilled out upon the earth. With it, we are a precision timepiece. We are Big Ben. We are the oldest continuously running clock in America.

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