Don't just complain - get involved!

They say no good deed goes unpunished, and if recent events in the City of Norwich are any indication, I guess they are right. In recent days, Iíve heard people complaining about pretty much everything in Norwich. The Evening Sun Forum online has been overflowing with complaints about our service professions, like the fire department and the hospital.

While I am always an advocate of free speech, I am finding fault with all of the fault-finding individuals. Recently I have heard complaints from both sides concerning the Norwich City Fire Department. Some people are complaining about the fire departmentís budget, claiming that they are being wasteful, and do not need such a high amount, while others are complaining about the recent scheduling changes that will reduce the number of paid employees working during nighttime hours.

I do not consider myself to be an expert on this or any matter. However, it occurs to me that if you feel strongly about how much money is allocated to the fire department or any department, there is a very good way to deal with that. While the budget was being planned, there were several public meetings dealing with this exact issue. A public hearing was held, at which time city residents were encouraged to come in and express their opinions. However, most of the people who are complaining so profusely now, were not there then.

Every month, the city holds finance meetings and council meetings, and at many of those meetings, the only people in attendance are city officials and perhaps one or two residents who attend on a regular basis. I know, as well as anyone, how difficult it is to find the time to attend after-hours meetings. We have our own lives, children and obligations, but to complain about something after the fact does not do anyone any good.

When there was actually something that could have been done about the issue, few individuals took the opportunity offered. So now we have a year until the opportunity comes around again. I wonder if more people will voice their opinions on the city budget next year, or if they will continue to complain about the situation, while doing nothing to correct it.

It does not end with the fire department. People have also been complaining about the quality of care at hospital emergency rooms, about programs at local schools and about anything else that comes up in the course of a day. I donít see anything wrong with complaining. I do my fair share when I come across an issue I disagree with, but I think itís important to complain to the right people. If you want to see something changed or done differently, then donít waste your time complaining to people who canít do anything about it Ė go to the source. Take your complaints to someone with the power and authority to do something about it, and maybe you will run out of things to complain about.

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