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Former Gov. Lynch compares private, public sector in NEC talk

Union Leader Correspondent

April 30. 2013 10:20PM

HENNIKER - Former Gov. John Lynch paid a visit to New England College on Tuesday evening to discuss with students and the public the similarities and differences between the private and public sectors.

Nearly 50 people, including dozens of students, were on hand at the Simon Center for the first of President's Conversation Series, forums spotlighting past and current political leaders of New Hampshire.

During the talk, Lynch compared and contrasted his experiences in both private enterprise, and as governor, giving students insight into how the two roles differ and how they were the same.

The most striking difference between public and private business, said Lynch, is making decisions. In private enterprise, decisions are made by a few, while in Concord, more than 400 people can weigh in on even the smallest of details.

What complicates matters more than the sheer number of individuals involved in decision-making in government is the fact that while tasked with working together for a common goal, those people are also working against each other, said Lynch.

"In government, people are supposed to work together but every other year, one side is trying to get the other side fired from their jobs," Lynch said.

The public sector is also open to media scrutiny, something the private sector largely escapes.

"In the private sector, if you get it right 80 percent of the time, that's pretty good," he said. "In the public sector, if you get it 99 percent right and one percent wrong, the media focuses on that one percent because it's newsworthy."

But there are commonalities between the public and private sector that Lynch said are important to recognize. Both business and government need to know, and understand their customers, determine what their needs are and try to meet those needs efficiently. Good data is essential for success in both worlds, as is team-building and earning trust.

"As governor, I got up every morning thinking I had to go out and earn the trust of the people of New Hampshire," he said.

Lynch fielded a number of questions from the audience following his presentation.

When questioned, Lynch said he hasn't strayed from his belief that income and sales taxes are bad for New Hampshire, would hurt New Hampshire's businesses, and were a fix for something that wasn't broken.

"There's enough money in the system," he said. "We just need to spend it better, spend it more wisely. We have a strategy here in New Hampshire that's working. Let's not mess it up."

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