No responsible person can deny that respect for one's community depends on upholding principles of self-respect. This is where good citizenship begins and ends. As a public servant, I strive to uphold my civic duty to extend respect toward all those I meet. Yet, as a city councilor, I often encounter people who demand their rights while abusing the process.I'm saddened by a recent altercation resulting from the Feb. 28 City Council meeting. Specifically, at the meeting I abstained from voting on a resolution proposed by Mayor Dave Berger relevant to Ohio Senate Bill 5. An irate member of our community held the mistaken belief that my abstention necessarily reflected my position on the sensitive issue of the right to collective bargaining for Ohio public employees. Actually my decision to abstain was based on a conflict of interest.As a state employee for the past 20 years and as a current union delegate of Service Employees International Union 1199, my personal position regarding Ohio Senate Bill 5 should be only too obvious. Passage of the bill impacts me and my family. However, as a ward councilman, I've an obligation to place the public interests of the city of Lima above my own.Most importantly, as I uphold my civic duty to serve the public interest, I too shall never tolerate such disrespect that could endanger my family, the 6th Ward or any member of our community. We all have a right to express our opinions. Nonetheless, we should exercise our rights responsibly.