With leadership front and center in this election, this question from the St. Albert Gazette and the subsequent answers are telling for how each candidate for mayor will interact with their council.
Council relationships have been in the spotlight since George Cuff released his municipal inspection report on St. Albert at the end of August.
In his report, Cuff referenced what he saw as a lack of collegiality, respect and co-operation between council members. He described two voting blocks on council and noted interpersonal conflicts sometimes got in the way of council business.
The Gazette asked candidates to share their views on what council members can do to ensure a positive working relationship with each other.
Q: How would you foster a good relationship with your fellow council members?
A: Cathy Heron, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
Working with a team of strong personalities can be challenging at times, but it can be most rewarding as well. I have learned to work with strong personalities through my time as chair of the Community Services Advisory Board, as a director on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and serving on several other high-functioning boards and committees. The biggest lesson I have learned is that all of these people, regardless of their political views, need to feel respected and valued for their contributions.
I understand the mayor is one vote of seven on council. There is no “I” in “mayor.”
As long as we remain focused on our shared love of the city, we can avoid personal attacks. Any conflict needs to be resolved early before it is drawn into the public forum and erodes public trust. I will draw out the wisdom of my colleagues to make our council and city thrive.
A: Cam MacKay, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
Good relationships are built on trust and integrity. When there are items such as double billing, pecuniary interest violations, members of council using their positions to obtain employment for themselves at the city and frivolous lawsuits that are pursued against residents, it is challenging to have good relations because people of integrity will not tolerate corruption. As mayor, I will set the tone from the top to instill a culture of integrity amongst council and accountability to the public. I will not ask people to trust me or trust council; rather, we will earn their trust by ensuring that the tools put in place, such as the internal auditor and the integrity commissioner, will serve as checks and balances to ensure fairness, accountability and integrity. Once there is trust and a culture of accountability, the public can be well-served.
A: Malcolm Parker, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
My goal is to lead a unified team that understands its governance role. I will use my leadership skills so we have a collegial, respectful and co-operative council. My leadership style is collaborative with a willingness to get to know others. I will listen and respect their views, encouraging collaboration when divisive or passionate viewpoints are brought forward. Trust is the foundation of a good relationship. I will be open and honest. We are a team with everyone treated equally and I will give credit where credit is due. Everyone wants to work in a positive and productive environment that supports them to do their best. I will work to make that happen.