From left corner: Good Government – Crow Wing County Land Services Department – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

Our government is us. The more people who participate in a positive way and with good intentions, the better.

I have written in previous columns about examples of good governance here at Echoland. Usually, the focus has been on Loon Lake Township. It’s where I grew up, went back there on weekends during my working years, and eventually retired there.

This township government has operated year after year in the friendliest, non-partisan, efficient and dollar-conscious way – aided by the board members who donated many hours and by George, a maintenance staff made up of one man who does everything.

Now I live in Breezy Point, very minority, partisan party.

Regulations and restrictions are much more formalized. However, one can see and appreciate the thinking behind them.

The hub seems to be concentrated in the Clerk’s (or Deputy’s) office, where they are always friendly, quick and thorough in responding to questions and requests for information and direction.

The city’s in-person voting is a good example. They certainly handled the two elections that we experienced impressively. The whole process was a professional production: a fluid mix of staff and volunteers working effectively together. There will be no legitimate complaints about the vote count in this locality.

There are certainly bumps along the way in our regional governments.

If what little I know of the facts is correct, then it’s shameful that a hard core of negative people helped oust Chris Lindholm as Superintendent of Pequot Lakes Schools. He’s pretty much the best school administrator we’ve had since Ed Larsen.

Crosslake seems to have excessive bickering indoors, as have Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point at times in recent years.

So far my experience with Crow Wing County government is positive, as it was in Cass County. A good example was the overall performance of the entire Crow Wing County Land Services Department.

When we moved in, we were referred to Laurel, who answered everything as we started filing deeds, paying taxes, consolidating lots, etc.

Now fresh in mind is our experience with last week’s land sale of tax-exempt properties. First, we received written notice, well in advance, that tax-exempt land was located within 150 feet of our property. The notice stated that the lot would be auctioned with the date, time and place. The notice told us who to call and how to get more information, if you are interested.

When I stopped by the land services office, I met a smiling Jessica, whom I had known before. I got more information and was directed down to further instructions and documentation. I must have met half a dozen nice people and come away with flat maps, aerial photographs, details of land sales and other explanations.

Last Friday, I attended my first land auction. I got more than reasonable accommodation for my hearing impairment, even a front row seat about five feet from the auctioneer’s table and microphone.

The staff went out of their way on several occasions to bring us seniors documents and to make the process easier for several people who used walkers or wheelchairs. Several choices of payment method were allowed.

The whole process with signage, arrows and staff positioning when registering, conducting the sale and paying was planned and organized efficiently.

It was an impressive process – a great example of good governance at work. All of us – bidders, buyers and viewers – were very well served.

Congratulations to the Crow Wing County Land Services Department.

Don Bye, columnist

Gregory M. Roy