I can’t do what I’m supposed to do and the city council can’t do what it’s supposed to do without citizen engagement,John Klimm, Rincon city manager
RINCON — John Klimm wants more people to join the City of Rincon’s decision-making huddle. Rincon’s new city manager, hired in July, told the Rotary Club of Effingham County on Thursday that citizen participation is crucial to good government. “I can’t do what I’m supposed to do and the city council can’t do what it’s supposed to do without citizen engagement,” he said during a club meeting at St. John’s Lutheran Church. “That is so much more important than it was 20 or 30 years ago because less and less people are getting involved.” Klimm, 62, developed an appreciation for public service at a young age. He was born in Hyannis, Mass., near the Kennedy Compound. As a child, he attended Mass regularly at St. Francis Xavier Church, the site of several important Kennedy family events. “My father would always lift us up so that we could see across the parking lot and see President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy come out of our church,” Klimm said. The close encounters with the president impacted Klimm greatly. “Living in the community that has the Kennedy Compound obviously brought the whole issue of public service to the forefront,” he said. “I’m old enough to be from a different time and lament the fact that, these days, people don’t feel the same way at times about public service. My lifelong desire is to try to influence as many people to reflect on their relationship with their community and if they are not active to get active.” Klimm was hyperactive in his community. He became the youngest member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1991, serving eight years. He championed legislation against elder abuse and promoted breast cancer research. Despite his successes, Klimm didn’t find government service at the state level as fulfilling as he expected it to be. “I loved my experience at the State House but passing laws is not the same as rolling up the sleeves and working at the local level and being able to see the fruits of your labor,” he said. “I really longed to come home, so I applied to become the city manager of my hometown.” See the Sept. 5 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.