June 2005

With apologies to Bills, Jets and Giants fans, the New England Patriots have come to represent what is good about sports with their unrelenting commitment to teamwork, loyalty and sacrifice of individual goals for the betterment of the team.

One doesn’t have to be a fan of this team to appreciate that their system works. The Patriots have won multiple championships at a time when the NFL has set up its own system to prevent it from happening. But therein lies the most important message: when hard work is combined with an awareness that one’s own performance can lift up — or let down — fellow employees, success can be achieved despite adversity.

I bring this up not because I’m a Patriot fan, but rather I see them as the closest example to what I’ve been fortunate to witness during my visits with many of you and your departments. In spite of adversity with budget issues and snowstorms and sundry pressures from residents, I’ve seen departments that respect their coworkers and the contributions they provide. Every superintendent or commissioner I’ve interviewed for a story has requested that I put some mention in the article about how much they appreciate the hard work of their staff and that “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Awhile back, I requested in one of these editorials that if any of you were to send in a group photograph of your department that I would publish it, even if you weren’t the superintendent being profiled for that issue. That offer still stands. It’s a great way to thank your staff for their dedication to your team. P

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