They say life is 10 percent about what happens to you and 90 percent about how you react.
The same goes for governments: Bad things invariably happen; it's how elected leaders respond to them that counts.
By this measure, the City of Auburn has been ill-served by the current council, and it's a relief to see four new people interested in running for office.
The past two years have been difficult for the city and its council. The recession and resultant state budget cuts have severely tested city government. But the same can be said for school districts and municipalities across the state.
It's the way Auburn's council has reacted to the crisis that has set it apart. Faced with serious challenges, the council has invariably responded with rancor, unreasonable demands and by casting blame.
There is a mature and productive way to work through problems. Unfortunately, that way has eluded the colorful personalities on this council.
We have had everything from councilors walking out of meetings to trailing a firetruck with a video camera. Councilors couldn't even agree on the best way to review their single employee, the city manager. Now several councilors are working behind the scenes to fire him.
The pattern has been for councilors to bicker and issue contradictory orders, then expect Manager Glenn Aho to magically divine their will and produce solutions.
This has developed into a stressful relationship that has left Aho trying to second-guess the will of his fickle bosses.
The council has also been unwilling to stick with its positions, regularly calling for budget cuts and then rescinding them after receiving public pressure.
Aho has turned City Hall inside out trying to make due with less money. High-level employees, including the assistant city manager, fire chief and planning director have been eliminated. The remaining department heads, meanwhile, have been organized into teams.
Councilor Dan Herrick now claims city employees are demoralized and miserable. As a result, he says, phones go unanswered, streets unplowed after snowstorms and less gets accomplished.
But when a city is forced to make as many cuts as Auburn has over the past two years, residents will see some reduction in services.
Still, essential services have been preserved. Police are still patrolling and firetrucks still rolling, if occasionally with a city councilor in pursuit. The street median strips downtown are planted with flowers and recreation programs are up and running.
Taxpayers and politicians like to say government must live within its means. Aho has done his level best to make sure difficult cuts have had the least possible impact on services.
While four new people have announced their intentions to run for council, we hope others will follow. It is time to sweep out the old and bring in fresh ideas and positive attitudes.
Auburn voters still need more candidates for the mayor's position. Incumbent Councilor Belinda Gerry is passing petitions not only for her at-large council seat, but for the mayor's job as well.
Gerry is not the right person for that job and we hope better candidates will step forward.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.