Leadership key in resolving problems

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

What would your father think? How would he react? Decades and decades ago, men such as Ironton founder John Campbell helped grow the small river city into an industrial powerhouse of national prominence.

We began thinking of Campbell and his fellow early Irontonians this week as the city nears the deadline for a possible labor strike by city employees.

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We couldn't help but look around Ironton, see the greatness that our forefathers created and wonder what qualities they had that we don't. We asked the question, "What was different back then?"

Lots of people will point to the economics of the times. American industrialism was booming shortly after Ironton's infancy.

But we don't think that's the critical element missing from the modern-day landscape.

What appears to be missing is the community leadership and civic stewardship that once was. At some point in Ironton's past, people came together and had the willingness and desire to do whatever it took for the good of the whole city.

Buildings were planned, funded and built. Businesses developed, churches founded and with each new brick, a new building block for the future was created.

We live in a city steeped in history and forged together with hard work, but lately we seem to have lost touch with that team approach.

Today we stand at a crossroads. The issue to be decided Thursday night is, on the surface, about a possible labor strike. However, the real issue is much more serious. Residents and leaders will argue over how to resolve the short-term dispute, but we really needs to focus long-term.

What are we as a community doing to solve the problems that plague the economy? What are we doing to foster a good economic climate?

Last November, city voters went to the polls and voted for a change. But thus far, those voters seem to be stuck with a system in which the council and the mayor are unable to communicate about the issues and quickly come to a decision that benefits the greater good.

The voters wanted a change, but as yet they're still waiting to see leadership.