Meet the Mayor
February 18, 2015
Some periods of life are dryer than others. Some cycles of business return lower revenue than other cycles. Sometimes Council routines seem to slide along with little of major significance to report to the constituency. That’s the way it is in this tenuous life. Since Christmas I’ve written about a number of District issues of interest to me and, I hope, to you. They include Rec Centre use and funding in two columns. I’ve held forth on the implications for Chetwynd of the potential construction of Site C. Outside workers received attention in one column as did the volunteer fire fighters. And finally, I reported on my attending the Premier’s forum on industry in Prince George which held a lot of interest for me with its promise of work for the willing and ready.
Today I want to reflect briefly on another topic that interests me very much.
On February 11 I attended the George Cuff professional development workshop on Effective Governance and Management in Dawson Creek. Elected officials with their CAOs from area municipalities, the Regional District, and from school boards participated. The material was not exactly new to me but the presentation was lively and the refresher was certainly timely and appropriate. I have found that it is never too late to be reminded of good leadership and management practices with the clear boundaries between the two that must be maintained.
Imagine this scenario: The Mayor approaches the operator of the blower busily filling the waiting dump trucks as they clear the down-town streets of tons of snow and informs him that he should move to the Rodeo Grounds immediately. Ridiculous, isn’t it. Worse than that, it is preposterous!
In Chetwynd we might make mistakes in Council decisions from time to time, and we’d be the first to admit it, but not the kind of foolish mistake I have just described. But stupid behaviour like this happens every day in some fair city between here and the 49th. Not in Chetwynd under my watch!
And it is not by accident that we avoid these destructive pitfalls in the public scene. There is plenty of opportunity for the unwary and the uninformed to fall into trouble unwittingly and, once in the glue, it’s not easy to get out. One member of Council naively ignoring the boundaries between Council work (leadership) and the administrative work (management) tarnishes the entire Council and may jeopardize her or his future in municipal government.
This is the reason I have placed such high value on training for new Councillors and review of leadership principals annually for all of us. It is just as important for me to take the opportunity to be refreshed at least once a year as it is for new Councillors to be introduced to the rules and principles that do govern Council-Management relations as well as Council-Constituency relations.
Thank you, people of Chetwynd, for allowing me this opportunity to become a more effective Mayor.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor