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Guest Column: Time for authentic leadership in Winnebago County

February 15, 2012

By Nichole Larison Sammon
Fox Ridge Subdivision resident

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or getting your picture in the paper; leadership is defined by results from sound actions, not attributes.

When looking into our leader for Winnebago County, Scott Christiansen, one must ask what has resulted from voting him into office?

In just the past four months, our leader pushed through the largest enlargement of our local landfill, opening it up for large trash haulers, at a discount, from across the stateline; added an asphalt plant on the edge of town, which is sure to welcome us all as we enter Rockford city limits; and sat silent about the butchering of our nature preserves’ trees.

As a county, we only have a few shared resources, WATER, AIR and LAND. Christiansen’s leadership effectively changed all three permanently, in just four months. The 2030 Land Use Resoursce Management Plan has become a joke.Abig joke.

The only bigger joke is the appointed, blantantly pro-developement Zoning Board of Appeals. They make rubber stamps jealous.

When true leadership was needed in this county to identify, evaluate and support cooperative practices between the county and the City of Rockford, Christiansen outsourced his job responsibilities to one of his largest campaign contributors, William Charles; he created the Joint Task Force on Governmental Efficiency, headed by John Holmstrom. I guess it was just too much work for our actual elected official, Christiansen, to accomplish himself.

Another result from Christiansen’s leadership is easy to sense in the county and just takes a simple visit to the administration office on Elm Street. Actions stem from attitudes. We all know and understand that reality, and, therefore, understand the importance of our leaders cultivating sound attitudes and methods. Although there are many helpful, hard-working people who work for our county, I have experienced arrogance, defiance of state laws, fabrication, and document suppression in trying to get assistance on many issues this past year. These types of actions can only be attributed to Christiansen’s guidance and management style.

Authentic leadership is more about the “character ethic” than it is about being driven by an extrovert, charismatic personality. Christiansen’s character ethic is unfortunately documented for all the public to see; judgments against Christiansen in 2003 and 2005, numerous foreclosures, a federal tax lien for more than $500,000 in 2007, and a mechanic’s lien in 2009. Adding up all the debt Christiansen has been able to amass totals about $1 million, or 10 times his gross salary in debt in a little more than seven years.

Christiansen has been our county “leader” for almost eight years. In those years, he has managed to establish a culture of disrespect and arrogance in the administration building. Christiansen has divided us all over one issue or the next, pitting one part of the county against the other. He has failed to lead in a time when we, as a county and a nation, desperately needed an accountable, steadfast leader. His leadership record and character ethic speak for themselves.

Election time is just around the corner. It is time to vote in a new leader. Mark your calendars for March 20, the Republican Primary.

From the Feb. 15-21, 2012, issue

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