Editorial – City of Fernie staffing issues

During the most recent council meeting, council addressed their staffing issues.

During the most recent council meeting, council addressed their staffing issues. As a result of limited staff, recent bylaw implementations have been slow coming. A 2nd Avenue business owner came to the meeting to address his issues with the Mobile and Street Vending section of a City of Fernie bylaw, Bylaw No. 2028. Complaints against mobile street vendors have been ongoing, being brought to city council’s attention last summer, but because of limited staff members, council has been unable to address the bylaw and it remains very ambiguous, lacking clear guidelines.

The staffing issue is a major problem that continues to get swept under the rug.

Recently, the city lost their Director of Corporate Administration, Michelle Martineau as well as their Director of Leisure Services, Cam Mertz.

These positions remain vacant, leaving other employees in charge of filling the shoes, a fairly big task. These employees both played a vital role in the City of Fernie.

Recently, a local approached council to request the city to set up a Facebook page in order to keep locals updated on events, bylaws and council meetings. Although the city expressed a desire in having a social networking site, because the Director of Corporate Administration role remains vacant they are currently unable to allot the time needed to do this.

Playing the blame game here is pointless and I honestly believe that it is not one individuals fault that the city is short-staffed.  After all — how can you hire someone if no one applies for the position? But this is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

While looking into the mobile street vendors issue and maintaining a presence on social media sites like Facebook may not seem like the biggest issues right now, I fear more issues will arise the longer these city positions remain vacant.

Bringing issues forward is essential to the democratic well-being of the City of Fernie, but if there are not enough staff members to properly address these issues in the current city bylaws, they will continue to remain unresolved. This past year, dozens of individuals have made their way to Fernie City Hall during regularly scheduled council meetings, bringing their concerns and desires forward, whether those be concerns over zoning bylaws or requests to line the Rotary Park chain link fence off Highway 3 with skis.

I can only hope that city positions will be filled soon so that these concerns and desires can be properly addressed.

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