What leadership skills do you have to provide the guidance and direction required to ensure staff are fulfilling the mandate of your council?
Fernie Mayoral Candidate
As the Mayor, I have developed a very good working relationship with Senior Staff recognizing that the only employee council has is the CAO. The CAO is hired because he has the expertise and experience to know the legislation such as the Local Government Act and the Community Charter and eventually city regulations. Council needs that resource person to ensure we understand the ramifications of decision. CAO and Senior Staff take their direction from council following the resolutions of council and acting on them. As the Mayor, I have developed a very good working relationship with Senior Staff recognizing that the only employee council has is the CAO. The CAO is hired because he has the expertise and experience to know the legislation such as the Local Government Act and the Community Charter and eventually city regulations. Council needs that resource person to ensure we understand the ramifications of decision. CAO and Senior Staff take their direction from council following the resolutions of council and acting on them. As the Mayor, I have developed a very good working relationship with Senior Staff recognizing that the only employee council has is the CAO. The CAO is hired because he has the expertise and experience to know the legislation such as the Local Government Act and the Community Charter and eventually city
Fernie Mayoral Candidate
Leadership doesn’t mean being boss. Leadership is ability to deliver a clear sense of direction and motivation so staff wants to achieve what they have been directed to do.
One person is accountable to Council. The Chief Administrative Officer. Staff is accountable to the CAO.
I will ensure staff, employees and council are a team. I will share information communicating clearly a vision of where and what direction our City needs to go and will continuously follow-up ensuring this direction is followed.
Work history proves I am a good listener, communicator, trustworthy, ethical, hard working, observant and intuitive.
If elected, how will you ensure that advocacy groups do not direct the agenda of Fernie City Council and manage Fernie’s destiny?
Members of council must do their homework and be informed to ensure that any suggestion brought forward by community advocacy groups is in the best interest of the people of Fernie. If not, council should act accordingly. Advocacy groups are in fact a part of the community building process. Whether it is Wildsight about Coal Bed Methane, Fernie Family Housing for affordable housing or FABDA against Development Cost Charges, what is important is the transparency of the advocacy organizations. Do they communicate openly with the public through their website, is their AGM open to the public etc.
I think this falls to the voter. The people of Fernie must evolve from the current path with their votes or this will be difficult if not impossible. The only way that advocacy groups can be prevented from managing Fernie’s destiny is by not voting for members of one of these groups. We need a more open approach where we hear from a broad section of the community when public input is sought and not allow this to be hijacked by special interests. Vote for people dependant on Fernie’s success who want responsible balanced growth and business opportunities.
Fernie’s destiny is in the hands of it’s citizens. Everyone tries to make a difference on the issues they care about. Council and staff do their work and make decisions with information provided by many individuals and groups. Democracy works best when citizens can provide input through open public processes where future options for the community can be debated and decision making is transparent. A wide variety of advocacy groups have contributed immensely to Fernie’s success. The Aquatic Centre, Arts Station, Museum and Heritage Library all resulted from the work of dedicated groups who had a positive vision for Fernie’s future.
This is a tough one. Often it appears as if the ‘ one that yells the loudest gets the most” . It’s very difficult for council to not be affected by that. I think it involves a better communication strategy to make sure the public knows what’s going on with the hope that more people get involved in the process. Whether it’s children’s programs, environmental issues or business improvements, the people involved are always the ones that are closest to the issues, are better informed and talk the loudest. I’m not sure there is a ultimate solution other than a council that is sensitive to the problem and willing to look deeper into the issues that are presented to them.
If elected as city councillor, managing Fernie’s destiny would be a key component of the role. Advocacy groups can play a role, informing city staff and council on the issues and concerns the group is facing. Typically such groups can be a wealth of information and research associated with their cause. Fernie’s destiny is partly structured around the Official Community Plan (OCP). This is a community-based exercise, that allows for input from the community on what they want to see the destiny of Fernie be. City council should always remember they represent the community and citizens of Fernie, and not advocacy groups.
As an elected official for the City of Fernie, you have to accept participation from any citizen or citizen group. Any resident or visitor to Fernie has the right to an opinion about the way the City is run, or its future planning. We have concrete rules for Council regarding conflict of interest, but not the public. It is up to Council and staff to discern when a citizen, or group is conflicted. Due diligence is required. Council must weigh whether the wants of a group are in the best interest of the City of Fernie residents, and if not, they must be discarded.
A place to start to ensure that advocacy groups do not direct and manage Fernie’s destiny would be to have the group make a presentation and provide a written submission about the topic at hand. Each group that decides to present to the council will only be allotted so much time, that way keeping it fair for all groups. Only council members will ask the questions to further understand or clarify the intent of the presentation. If need be, council could review the taping of the presentation and inform the group in writing about their decision.
The key to representing Fernie with strength and evenness is understanding.Because I’m a writer, I have a background in digging out the truth and getting the whole story. I believe in balance and looking at the whole picture. It’s my nature to look at all sides of a situation or proposal, and because of that, I feel that I will have a balanced awareness of the truth. That is how I plan to represent Fernie with strength and evenness.
Advocacy groups are part of the political process, but it is the voters who decide who will represent their interests the best. My agenda is very clear “Focus on services for the citizens of Fernie”, and “Work with businesses and citizens to unlock our communities potential”. Beyond that it is by use of good policy and bylaws to ensure that the framework of Fernie is fair for everyone.
Andrea McKay Horton
While advocacy groups definitely fill a role within the community and bring attention to important issues, it is the greater responsibility of Council to examine all sides of an issue.If I am elected to Council I will explore all relative viewpoints regarding the matter at hand and ensure that any decision made is one that benefits the entire community.