As somebody who's often seen as incredibly light on the spectrum of admin strictness, I can definitely understand the primary concern of the issue. There have been several incidents over the years in which, even on staff, I have had significant disagreements with the way a number of bans and dealings have gone on across the server's history. It can be easy, from a staff position, and even a head position, to worry that you're stepping on eggshells with other members of staff.
A number of times I've felt strongly against something, though being in the minority, there's not much you can do to sway opinion if that happens. It can be incredibly discouraging, and so the paragraph below definitely resonates with a number of my own experiences.
The thing is, this isn't bridge burning, it's honest criticism coming from somebody who didn't feel they had the channels open to discuss their discontent with a current system. Though I understand I wasn't head until you began your break, I take it as a personal failure to keep things feeling open, and for being unable to make you feel as though your opinion would not only be welcome, but would also be considered and hopefully incorporated into staff workings at large.
From personal experience, being a timid person in a staff team can be difficult, it can have that 'eggshell' feel whenever you push up your own personal opinion, and it can feel as though breaching that might be seen as 'confrontational'. Believe me, I've taken insults for opposing staff decisions before, it's not completely crazy. The thing is, Headmin enforcement buckling down on things won't make everyone happy likely for the very same reason. Even we don't always disagree, most notably between me and Kyet, and to some degree, Neca for both of us, each concerned with the other's way of addressing people and our way of addressing bans and how/when to apply them.
Frankly, if I'm going to be honest with how I'd deal with the situation, I'd have to tell you that I don't honestly know, these sorts of problems go beyond simple rule and policy changes, as, especially with a staff team this big, getting consensus on even one rule can take weeks or, at worst, several months.
The important thing to note though is, this isn't a sour note, it's bittersweet at the very worst. It's honest and open criticism and I can completely respect the position you're coming from. The best you can really do is try to change things around and speak your piece well enough that you can manage to get people on your side, but that takes a bit of that boat rocking and, inevitably, you'll likely step on toes. Life without upsetting people is impossible, of course, but what matters is the way in which you upset them. If your arguments are as well reasoned, well worded, and as diplomatic as these posts here, you could certainly avoid a lot of the pain and discomfort you might've expected from providing an opinion you've got every reason and right to be able to provide.
Para has helped me grow a lot in these past six years, and from the looks of things, it's certainly had an effect on you. If you ever feel up to it again at any point or if you'd be willing to give debates and arguments a shot, feel free to come back any time. On top of that, if you had any suggestions, arguments, or concerns you wanted to pitch that you didn't feel comfortable putting in this thread for the sake of the aforementioned 'eggshell' worries, please, chuck me a DM on discord.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you around.