By Roger Utnehmer, DoorCountyDailyNews.com President and CEO
Door County’s former Baylake Bank developed a well-deserved reputation for civic engagement.
In today’s toxic political environment the ability to disagree agreeably seems a lost art. It has not always been so. For many years Baylake Bank served as an incubator for civic leadership. Officers and staff served on the school board, city council and county board. Like many good businesses, Baylake Bank also provided leadership to many non-profit civic and service organizations.
Today, far too few people in business are willing to risk the wrath of customers that comes with their employees serving in local government.
Tough decisions have consequences. Unfortunately, one can be boycotting a business because of an unpopular vote. That’s why the Baylake Bank model of permitting people to serve in local government was so impressive for so long.
Former Baylake Bank President Tom Herlache served as the chairman of the Door County board of supervisors. John Hauser was a member of the city council and also past president and long-time member of the Sturgeon Bay school board. Ron Berg and Ken Glasheen were also city council members.
And there are certainly more.
The leadership provided by Baylake Bank set a worthy example of the importance of business allowing officers and staff to serve the public through elected office. Door County and Sturgeon Bay would be even better places to live if more businesses promoted the kind of civic engagement Baylake Bank modeled for many years. People want government run more like a business. Doing so requires business owners to be as receptive to engagement as the leadership of the former Baylake Bank has been by allowing its employees to serve.
That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.