What Makes a Candidate Worthy of Your Vote? The Peter Principle

As Goochland County heads into an upcoming election for local Board of Supervisors and the position of Sheriff, there has been much discussion about what makes a candidate worthy of support and votes. The gold standard of evaluation and determination remains something known as the Peter Principle.

First, let’s take a look at what the Peter Principle is. Utilized in management, business administration, and elections, the Peter Principle states the following:

The Peter Principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”. In other words, an employee is promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another.

As an example, an animal rescue organization who takes in homeless animals may be able to provide basic services, and even some specialized care, but they may not be licensed to perform veterinary medicine.

A contracted employee, or volunteer, who is dedicated to a business or cause may eventually become an adept paid member of the regular staff, but their professional skills, acquired over time, still may not lend them the expertise that would be needed to become the CEO.

A teacher may become head of a department within the school where they work. With experience, that same teacher may become an Assistant Principal, but still lack the necessary tools to be a Principal.

In the examples above, a person utilizes, expands, and develops their professional credentials through a step-by-step process that leads them upwards throughout their career. This includes specialized training, a variety of leadership roles, and ongoing professional expansion. At some point, however, the position that an individual seeks may be one that does not reflect the required experience to competently perform the tasks, or meet the future expectations, required of them in the position they are seeking.

While a person may be a good friend, someone who coaches a local sports team, a community volunteer, and otherwise reflect a pleasant demeanor, these particular elements of their personal character do not necessarily reflect their professional abilities or competency to perform the tasks of the position they seek. It then becomes the responsibility of voters, during an election, to compare the varying levels of professional, not personal, positions of adequate competency of all candidates.

There is an election this November in Goochland County, and it is one that will set the tone for a growing county that is in need of increased support services. Every vote matters. Opinions will vary, online debates can become heated, and the standard in rising above all of that is to perform an honest audit of each resumé, and then employ the Peter Principle as a way to compare levels of competency.

The Peter Principle is additionally helpful in removing emotionally attached personal leanings when electing a qualified voice to represent and oversee the safety of all Goochland County residents without bias. It deciphers facts, and allows for a non biased practical solution when examining the actual qualifications of candidates.

The population of Goochland County has now passed the 22,000 mark, which means new faces, more input, and inevitable change that comes with a developing county. Having a principle in place that weaves an applicable tapestry of realistic measures is helpful at the very least and crucial at best. Experience in one specific area does not mean that an individual can competently perform the required duties in a variety of areas even within the same agency.

If you have not had the opportunity to compare the candidates for Goochland County Sheriff, you can find further information on their respective websites listed below.

Levin White

Emiel Fisher

Steven Creasey

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