To be a leader, a person must meet a couple of simple requirements. The first is to have followers. The second is that those followers trust that their leader has their immediate and long-term interests at the heart of their decisions. This trust comes more from leaders sincerely listening to their followers and the followers believing they’ve been respected and heard rather than from leaders telling them a few things.

To be a leader, a person must meet a couple of simple requirements. The first is to have followers. The second is that those followers trust that their leader has their immediate and long-term interests at the heart of their decisions. This trust comes more from leaders sincerely listening to their followers and the followers believing they’ve been respected and heard rather than from leaders telling them a few things.

Carson Ross, mayor of Blue Springs, was invited by Michael Freeman to appear at an evening debate so a majority of citizens of Blue Springs can have the opportunity to ask questions and listen to both candidates responses. Ross chose not to accept this opportunity for his city’s citizens to ask him questions and explain his decisions. He also pointed out that perhaps Mr. Freeman didn’t understand why the city’s debt is growing, but perhaps didn’t think that if Mr. Freeman didn’t understand, then how many of his citizens do not understand. These responses are in keeping with the mayor’s recent history.

During a City Council meeting in August 2010, two concerned retirees completed their speakers request forms to get permission to address the mayor and council to speak against the city’s plans on trash contracting. Both citizens’ requests were denied by the mayor.

This past year when the city invited citizens to attend a public meeting where the city’s two trash/recycling plans were presented, citizens were not allowed to speak in the meeting. Instead, they were given cards. The mayor was not available for that meeting on the foremost issue of the year. Many people have noticed the mayor does not have budget issues or reports on the City Council agenda for the council to discuss and debate publicly. These are only a few examples of the mayor’s controlling communications with his followers.

The mayor seems comfortable with his relationship with other mayors of other cities, but they don’t vote for him, nor is he accountable to them as he is accountable to his constituents. He’s also comfortable with his past record in Jefferson City; however that was work done in another job at another time. When it comes to standing in front of his city as it’s leader, being accountable for his decisions and answering questions, Ross wants to limit his audience to a few voters. Those decisions are not the ones of a leader who builds the trust of his followers.

It appears Ross no longer has the energy or desire to help his constituents understand his decisions and perhaps then should also retire from public life.