Bureaucratese should be a dead language

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Congratulations to North Idaho College trustees and administrators who refuse to sit still with a pretty good hand of cards.

Knowing that the wheels of bureaucracy roll slowly, we’ll refrain from criticizing the months of committee meetings and consensus gathering that certainly await. But taking the trustees’ most recent meeting as a reminder, we will go so far as to wish they — and other public bodies — would work a little harder at speaking plain English.

The college is considering adding a couple of sports — one for men, one for women per legal requirements — and also perhaps building a bigger and better gym. In many ways, these are exciting possibilities not just for students, faculty and staff, but for the community at large.

Yet in the wake of the gathering of NIC’s Board of Trustees, hip waders were needed for the average citizen to get through the tall weeds of verbosity grown with the fertilizer of important-sounding words. It’s an affliction common to elected folk, so NIC’s leaders should not feel singled out.

What you might have heard were terms like “integrated planning process” and “physical plant structure.” Criminal acts? Well, no. But perhaps the pronouncements could be a bit lighter on integrated planning processes and heavier on clear thinking and straight communication. Straight talk might have showed up something like this in the next day’s paper:

“North Idaho College enrollment is down. Trustees and administrators are trying to figure out how to make the college more attractive so more students will want to attend and more non-students will want to participate in college activities and maybe contribute money to the cause. Adding sports and building a nice gym are a couple of options. Spending money is the only absolute certainty. The sole decision made Wednesday was that trustees committed $34,000 for design work that might or might not ever become a new athletic facility and parking lot.”

Again, NIC is far from alone in moving slowly and failing to come right out and say simply what’s happening and what they intend to do about it. The result is that many a citizen loses interest and therefore doesn’t participate in important processes.

We respectfully submit that maybe the governed would be happier with government if they knew what the hell the governors were saying.

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