New Council Members Can Look Forward to Hard Work, Lots of Listening

Okay, now that they have been sworn in, what's next for the six newly minted members of San Antonio City Council?

In talks with several former Council members, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports they can look ahead to several things, including long hours, and lots of demands on their time.

John Clamp, who represented the northeast side on Council from 2007 to 2011 says the key to a successful tenure is listening.

"You listen from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, which is really an 18 hour day," Clamp said.  "You listen to constituents, you listen to city staff, you listen to the city manager."

Clamp says the biggest misunderstanding people have about members of City Council is that they don't pay attention.  He says new Council members learn early that listening is the key to success.

Something else Clamp says the new Council members can expect is a shortage of quiet Sundays at home or dinners with the family.  He says it really is a round the clock job, and Council members are 'always on call.'

"Get plenty of rest," he said.  "I can remember plenty of times that I sat down in a chair when I got home and just passed out.  Your energy level has to be high."

Clamp says it is also critical that new members of Council learn to respect and cultivate input from the City's highly talented full time staff.  He says there is somewhat of a 'deep state,' the expression used to describe a powerful and entrenched bureauracy, at City Hall, but successful Council members learn quickly how to work with it, and not against it.

"There is a working knowledge of how things are actually done, as opposed to how Council wants them to be done."

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