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Just a Thought - Meetings are now like marathons

I don’t quite feel like myself when I’m hungry.

Hunger changes me. It’s me, but it’s not me. During this altered mental state, I toss verbal smackdowns at people. Verbal smackdowns are insults and quips with bite. They are verbal one-liners and affronts. While these are not acceptable in the professional world in which I work, they are in the wrestling ring that I see around me.

I follow statements of “I think” with “It doesn’t matter what you think!”

Names were followed by “It doesn’t matter what your name is!”
Redundant statements bought out, “Shut your mouth!”

Unnecessary comments brought forth, “Know your role!”

Apparently I turn into Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and someone needs to offer me a Snickers bar. After a bite, I might turn back into myself.

Nothing brings on a Snickers moment quicker than getting stuck in a lengthy government meeting that you didn’t prepare for by eating first. That situation has happened to me quite a few times over the last two weeks as Warren County commissioners push the boundaries.

The Warren County Commissioners meeting Sept. 17 lasted two hours and 45 minutes. It was probably a record. Meetings used to be 20 and 40 minutes max. A lot of hunger-related jokes were made by people who undoubtedly hadn’t eaten because the meeting started at 6:30 p.m. My joke was actually a sincere desire to order a pizza and have it delivered to the county executive in the courtroom of the administrative building.

Offered during that meeting was a presentation by Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) Program Coordinator Bob Bass and County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) Jail Management Consultant Jim Hart to update new commissioners on the jail’s situation. Very informative, if you can retain that much information thrown at you at one time.

Several marathon committee meetings followed in the next few days. Since then, committees have all set records for duration. All have been more than an hour long and one was in excess of two hours. Warren County commissioners are definitely testing time boundaries over the past two weeks.

I actually requested of one committee chairman bring snacks if his meeting would be lengthy. While his meeting lasted more than two hours, no snacks were provided.

Importantly, new commissioners are going through an educational process and that’s good. However, everyone needs to keep in mind that you can cram years of knowledge into one very long session but retention will suffer.

Time management would be helpful in these meetings. Conduct business first. Then, if the educational session lasts more than an hour, find a good stopping point and table the discussion for later. If not, please bring crackers.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.