Some guy named Robert got to have his name on a list of rules, so I hereby claim the following rules as Shawn’s Rules of Public Decency in Meetings:
1) In order to complain about something, a person must actually know what they’re talking about.
It’s important to note that someone telling you about it doesn’t count as knowing about it. It’s also discouraged to conveniently omit key information in your rant that might possibly show you are in some way a party to the problem. Lastly, if you lash out at the only people with the slightest ability to help remedy that which troubles you — please realize that efforts will most likely be put into discrediting your complaints, as opposed to fixing them.
2) If you don’t have even the slightest inkling of a solution, a public meeting is not a place to complain about everything that is wrong with the “establishment.”
Please remember that public administrators are often the target for scorn, anger, complaints, and slander. We mostly realize that vicious personal attacks (even pointed ones) are not directed at the person, but rather the office. However, this also makes us cynical, bitter, defensive people. We’re generally smart, and “get it” when you say things meant to sting us personally. Luckily, our sense of duty is almost always such that we try to do the right thing in spite of such comments and complaints. But we don’t like you. If our solutions to the problems you bring up make you personally miserable, please realize it’s your position that is miserable, not you.
3) If you ask for something, get it, and then complain about it — please be sure to wear the appropriate “I’m an Idiot” hat while speaking.
This rule helps public officials identify personnel issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Also, be sure to state your full name, so everyone can remember the proper names of the idiots.
4) If you don’t like your job, your working conditions, your benefits, your pay, your boss, your facilities, your co-workers, or even your daily commute, please feel free to quit.
If you don’t have what you need to properly do your job — then don’t do it. This may seem harsh, but really, why be miserable? Life is too short to be unhappy with your job.
5) If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem
Complaining about the problem is not part of the solution. At all.
Ok, that’s it. Too much more would be snark, and I’m in just the sort of mood to be snarky really really well.
UPDATE: I leave you with this gem…