My Hopes for Next Term

Today is a day many St. Albertans have been waiting for. It is the release of the Municipal Inspection Report. There is no doubt that this past term has had its ups and downs with many examples of poor relationships amongst council, lack of respect of staff, scolding by our Chamber of Commerce and loss of trust from residents.

If elected Mayor I want to rebuild that trust. I have demonstrated over the past 7 years my strong ability to build relationships with all stakeholders.

Here is the beginnings of my plan to lead a strong united collaborative council

  1. The day after the election meet one on one with all newly elected councilors and determine their key goals for the next four years and their vision for the next 50. This will continue throughout the term.
  2. Within 5 days of the election have a meeting with all 7 or us. The purpose will be to get to know each other and determine our governance style so we can function effectively. This will also continue throughout the term. I believe it is important to know your colleagues in order to have an understanding of the motivation for decisions and better respect.
  3. We will discuss the newly approved Council Code of Conduct and live through different scenarios and how we should react.
  4. I have been involved in many governance boards outside of council and understand the procedural rules, but that is not to say I can’t learn more so some parliamentary rules of order training will be in my future. I want to be able to chair a council meeting that remains at a policy level, stays on topic, is respectful, adheres to the procedural bylaw strictly and is devoid of personal attacks.
  5. Council orientation needs to be robust and done together to allow for questions,  advice from incumbents and to begin the team building process. Especially the section on governance. I would like to make this mandatory and see 100% attendance and participation.
  6. Within a few months of being elected council will need to develop a strong strategic plan. This is so important and valuable. This will need to be led by council and not our staff and requires a contracted facilitator. It is council’s role to set the direction of the corporation and the city.
  7. We have allowed the volume of Information Requests from council to staff to get out of control. I believe we need a stricter evaluation of these request as they take up a considerable amount of staff time.
  8. I believe we should re-evaluate our budget process. Our staff should understand council’s expectations early in the preparation process of what a suitable increase will be. This will require a close relationship between council and our City Manager. But above all during budget deliberations council needs to remain at a governance level. The type of tree we plant is not the job of council. The job of council is to have a tree policy and set the appropriate budget to realize that policy.
  9. I will encourage members of council to take on equitable committee work inside and outside of our city. I feel that this will increase the knowledge base and allow members of council to bring back best practices from other municipalities to improve our own.
  10. Our relationship with our City Manager is paramount. Council will need to be a team and conduct annual evaluations in a professional manner. I would propose that we hire an outside facilitator to assist us through the process. I also believe semi-annual we all have a strategic “check-in” with the City Manager to ensure that goals are being reached and prevent any negative situations from escalating. Confidence in staff cannot be understated and council needs to be able to trust their expertise and advice while forming an opinion.
  11. It is also important for the Mayor to remember that we are all equal. Each member of council has one vote. So as mayor I will do my best to involve council in as much of the daily ongoings of the mayor as they want. Improved communication and division of duties.

Mr. George Cuff who wrote the report is an expert in municipal governance and I look forward to his recommendations. It is my hope that the next council can put the past behind us and move forward as a cohesive body. The success of a city is the result of a combination of good leadership on council, strong knowledgeable staff and community leaders encouraged to become actively involved. Those who run for council run because of a deep desire to guide the city they love. That is something we all share and provides the best foundation for a new term.

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