Week 2 in Wake saw the beginning of a recurring event for this summer: Field Trips. On our first trip, the other 4 graduate assistants of Wake County and I got behind-the-scenes looks at Kellem-Wyatt Farm. This News and Observer article does a great rundown of the property, but the short version is Kellem-Wyatt is a farm recently donated to Wake County and is in the earliest stages of being developed into a park/nature preserve/something-for-the-public of Wake County. The 57-acre property is in immaculate condition and very photogenic.
After Kellem-Wyatt, our second trip last week was a meeting with the staff of Wake County’s Public Libraries Division. The meeting was at the county’s Library Administration building and served as a deep dive into the county’s increasingly successful public libraries. The meeting was roughly 3 hours and focused on goal-setting and program bench-marking.
These were the first days that I truly got to explore parts of the County outside of Budget and Management Services (BMS), and what I found was inspiring. The work that happens in BMS is very broad, and we rely on the county’s departments and divisions to carry out the front line work using their expertise and the resources that we allocate to them. I know how obvious that sentence is, but it’s still an important distinction to highlight. BMS holds a powerful role in the county, however there are still mountains of discretion left to divisions such as Public Libraries or Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces (PROS).
This week’s title derives from the people I engaged with on these trips. This past week showed me that the people handling the front line discretion are incredibly passionate about the work they do. I found myself thinking a few times, “I’m glad that there are people that love *insert government service* this much” while talking about conservation with PROS Business Manager Emerson Barker or about catering to new audiences with Libraries Director Michael Wasilick. E plurbis unum; out of many one, because it takes countless, passionate people across departments to create one, good government.