Use Your Words Wisely
Believe it or not, next Wednesday is my last day at the Town of Carrboro — and just as I was figuring out what I am doing. Kidding (well, sort of). It always feels like it takes a few weeks to settle into a new job and with a ten-week internship it does not take long before you feel like it’s over before it has really begun. But this summer I’ve been lucky to have been given projects that felt important and useful.
One such project has been developing Special Event procedural guidelines for town-sponsored events. This project has been an interesting introduction into local government. I’ve come to learn that in local government, words matter. When writing procedures or policies you have to choose your words carefully because those words become ordinances and ordinances run local government. Changing your words is not always easy – which means you spend a good bit of time trying to determine the difference between a “special event” and a “town sponsored event” and a “street event.” At first, distinguishing between the three seems silly. Once you realize that one day how you define these words will determine how you have to do your job when your Board says you are responsible for running a “town sponsored event,” you will understand that the small difference in definitions can make a big difference in your responsibilities. I also think it is ironic how many words I had to use to try to get this simple idea across. But that’s the thing with words, it’s hard to find the perfect ones – so in the end, you write the best you can, you get as much feedback as possible, you re-write, and eventually you just hope the proper meaning comes across. And I know what you’re thinking – “what is the difference between a special event, a town sponsored event, and a street event?” Well, you’ll just have to wait until my Special Event Guide is released to the masses. I’m sure the anticipation is killing you.
Come back next week for my last post! I’ll reveal what I intend to bake for my last day of work.