SHS class gets first-hand take on local government

By Jacob Toeppe - For the Enterprise

Swanton Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle visited Swanton High School on Friday and spoke to government students about her role in the community, and the importance of local government.

She began by telling students how she discovered and obtained the the job she has. She said that when she was studying history at John Carroll University, one of her professors suggested she enter public administration, after she told him that her skills included writing, researching, and speaking to groups of people.

“I hadn’t considered anything like that before, but now, the things I’m doing are things I’m really passionate about,” Hoelzle told the class.

She explained that the group she works with is made up of five people, who are all in charge of overseeing major issues in the Village of Swanton. Hoelzle then had the students imagine a scenario, and try to work out what they do in the position of Hoelzle and her colleagues.

This exercise forced students to think critically. It also made them think about the situation collectively, as they attempted to sort through and solve a series of very real events that could have a major impact on the state of the village and the community.

She told students to imagine that they got a call from someone, saying that their basement was being flooded with sewage. Hoelzle informed them that “In situations like this we would always send at least two people, especially when large equipment [a sewage truck] is involved, just to make sure nothing happens to someone working alone.”

She added that in this case, a third person would probably tag along, leaving only two available to handle other issues, and keeping in mind that the superintendent may be in a meeting, there is really only one person left. “And then a tree falls on the pavilion at Memorial Park,” Hoelzle added.

Having to decide which issue issue to take care of first, the students had differing opinions. They could send the last person to the park, or the third person on the sewage issue, or both. They could ignore one issue to focus only the worst one.

“Then you get a phone call that says a sink hole has opened on a road in town.” Hoelzle piled onto the list of conflicts.

Students began to get frustrated with how difficult everything was to handle. Junior Sam Sledz asked, “Why are there only five people?”

“We would love to have more people, but can we afford it?” Hoelzle replied, revealing that their budget does not allow for the payment of extra members. She added that if they hired more people, they would not be able to afford needed equipment. “The money we’d be getting in would be going more toward people’s wages than things like a sewage truck.”

Near the end of the discussion, Hoelzle allowed the students to ask any questions they may have about her, local government or anything related.

When asked what her personal favorite part of her job is, she responded, “I see the problems people are concerned with, and I get to work toward solving them.”

Government teacher Andrew Carr addressed the massive amount of comments and concerns people share over social media outlets like Facebook. “How do you decide what to read, and what not to read?” Carr questioned.

“Our intent with Facebook is information based,” Hoelzle said. She said that they use social media mainly to let the public know what is going on. She added that if someone has a real concern, they try their best to resolve it over private messaging.

By Jacob Toeppe

For the Enterprise