This is how it’s supposed to work.

In the past two weeks, we’ve seen:

•A city council member question the process of how a contract was awarded

•Local officials and residents gather for an educational session about tax increment financing and redevelopment commissions

•County council members discuss the operation and financial sustainability of Jay County Retirement Center

•Leaders from around the county gather for the Jay! Region’s presentation in its effort to earn the Stellar Communities designation

•Teachers rally at the Indiana Statehouse to advocate for better compensation and a voice in education policy

These are all good things.

Council members should concern themselves with whether the correct processes are being followed, even if the result was unanimously seen as good.

Local officials should seek to learn more about the tools available to them.

County council members should ask questions about whether the services being paid for with taxpayer dollars are efficient and effective.

Local leaders should work together in an effort to make their community better.

Teachers, and any other group, should feel empowered to assemble and petition for steps to be taken to improve their situation.

It is by asking questions, learning, working together and advocating that we ensure our institutions are the best they can be.

It is when we don’t do those things that problems begin to arise. We know that from experience.

In the not-so-distant past, Jay County and its communities have made some investments — Omnicity, Community Home Improvement and GFT Corporation among them — that resulted in significant financial losses. We’ve seen Jay Emergency Medical Service struggle financially. We’ve seen Redkey facing Indiana Department of Environmental Management fines.

It is thanks to asking better questions that our government entities have made more careful investments. It was a push by county council and commissioners in recent years that helped lead to a new JEMS management structure and billing system that have righted the ship. It is because local officials teamed up to find a creative solution that Redkey’s sewers are separated.

Questions are good, especially when we’re willing to accept the true answers rather than just search for those that support our previously held beliefs. Education is good. Careful scrutiny is good. Education is good. Teamwork is good. Public advocacy is good.

If the past two weeks, we’ve seen all of that and more.

The level of engagement has been encouraging. Keep it up. — R.C.