"Cathy is very positive and professional on city council."
- John Bozocea
Cathy's Plan - Leadership
Working with a team of strong personalities can be challenging at times, but I feel it can be most rewarding as well. I have learned to work with strong personalities through my time as chair of CSAB, several city committees, the elected officials education program at AUMA, 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 will focus on 4 key philosophies to ensure my council feels valued for their contributions.
- Fair Distribution of Responsibilities.
Each member of council needs to contribute to committees, engage residents, and participate in the business of governance. From attending community events to forming relationships in the region; each member of my council will be a part of the solution and take pride in the outcomes we form together.
- Respectful Work Environment
Personal attacks are never constructive and have no place in a council chamber. If 2 members of council have an issue with each other, that can and will be resolved privately rather than voiced for the media and cameras. This will help to restore our residents faith in their council members, and facilitate a healthy and respectful work environment.
- A Leader Among Equals
The mayor needs to set the tone and lead by example to ensure the public trust. As mayor I will speak on behalf of my council rather than speaking for only myself, ensuring the tone of respect and collaboration emanates from my office first and foremost.
- Open Lines of Communication
It is important that councillors be comfortable talking to each other, asking each other's opinions, and sharing information with each other. The work of a councillor happens from Tuesday through Sunday, where Monday's council meetings is the culmination of what we've accomplished and make a final decision together.
The First 3 Months
Working together as a team is the foundation upon which all other goals are based. With a professional council working together, I know that we can do GREAT things for this city. But we have to get started on the right foot. That's why a cohesive council will be my primary focus in the first 3 months of my term as Mayor. Here is my outline of achievable and realistic tasks that will help to build a cooperative council.
- Immediate Contact & Follow Up
It is important that council start communicating on day 1. My first contact on October 17th will be to my new council, welcoming them to the job and congratulating them on their success. I will ensure that I talk to all of them that day, that's how good communication is established... and it starts on Day 1!
- Fair Division of Work
Everyone on council is an equal, so TOGETHER we will identify the jobs and workload, and TOGETHER we will assign our first committees and tasks. We have enjoyed 10 years of the hardest working mayor any of us can remember. This will be the hardest working council. We will have our roles and tasks defined in the first month on council.
- More Communication
Traditionally the mayor takes on the lions share of the workload. While this won't change, I am a workaholic by nature after all, I want to ensure that my council remains informed about, and welcomed to, all of the things I do as mayor. For example each week my council will receive a report of what we've accomplished, and what is upcoming.
- Individual Priorities Presentation
We will each be elected with our own priorities and goals. Not only is it OK, it's GREAT! Where we can succeed is by supporting each other in those goals whenever possible. I intend to have each member of council identify their top 3 goals early on, so the rest of council can support them in achieving those goals in the best way possible. Where the goals conflict, we can get to work on finding middle ground.
- Group Planning
Focused planning can't happen in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day business at city hall. In the first two weeks of council I intend to get everyone together off site so we can really get into the planning process. Not only will this allow us to focus, it will give us the opportunity to build relationships on council that will help to establish the mutual respect we need.
The last council was offered formal training on the role of a councillor. Some chose to attend, some did not. I know from experience this training is crucial to the success of a council. With the 2017 council, this training will be required of all councillors. We cannot be an effective team if we aren't all at the same knowledge level on our role as a council and the expectations that come with it. I want everyone there, incumbents and newly elected. The incumbents can always learn something new and can act as mentors and a source of knowledge for the newly elected. Again this is another opportunity to better understand one another and build the team.
- Dispute Resolution
With 7 people who are passionate about their city, there is going to be some personality conflict and friction. Therefore I will establish a protocol for councillors to resolve their personal differences, using established mediation practices. This protocol will be written out and developed using input from all 7 of us. This will allow us to resolve personality conflicts before they get out of hand, so all of council can stay focused on the business of St. Albert.
- Code of Conduct
In 2017 I asked for an update to the Council Code of Conduct. The result is a much stronger code, with clear direction on a wide array of subjects. I am proud of this code, and I intend to uphold it on this council as one of our core values. I feel so strongly about abiding by the code of conduct that at our first public meeting, each member will be provided with a printed copy of the code for them to sign... a commitment to good behaviour and mutual respect amongst peers.
- Professionalism Reviews
In the first 10 meetings we will do a group self assessment of each council meeting to ensure we are on the right path. The manner in which we conduct meetings, speak to each other, and go about the business of decision making will be reviewed closely after each meeting. After those initial 10 meetings, these reviews will be done monthly for the remainder of the first year, and quarterly for the remainder of the term.
- 1-on-1 with Council
It's always about relationships. While I will have an "open door" policy for my council, I will also proactively ensure that we have monthly 1-on-1 meetings to address any concerns, goals, or observations they want to discuss. Sometimes we don't even know we have a good idea in our head until someone sits us down and asks us; that's my goal.
- Council Retreat
In January I intend to use an experienced consultant to guide council through an in-depth Strategic Plan for our term. This plan will be council driven and will allow our administrative team to understand the direction of this new council over the next 4 years. I want this to once again be off site over a couple days and include evening team building initiatives.