Editorial: This Council needs to get its act together

Thursday night’s special meeting of Morinville Town Council demonstrated a lack of leadership and cohesion among the five remaining members of Council.

Before the reader infers editorial harshness, it was an opinion expressed by at least three of the five members of Council. In short – they don’t have their acts together right now.

Faced with the opportunity of picking one of the five to lead the charge over the final 74 days of this three-year Council term, Council voted 3-2 to defer the matter until Aug. 27, largely because Council does not seem confident to make “good decisions” in a time of difficulty.

Here are the words of Councillor Nicole Boutestein:

“Right now I don’t feel any decision that we’re going to make is going to be an effective one.”

Here are the words of Councillor Sheldon Fingler:

““I think we as a council have not shown leadership through this trying time. I think this has been a delicate issue that we haven’t handled well.”

Here are the words of Deputy Mayor Lisa Holmes:

“We are not communicating well as a Council and until that happens, I don’t think anyone is set up to succeed.”

At least we can take comfort in the fact Council is aware of its present weakness.

It would be easy to speculate what is transpiring behind the scenes. A cynic would see this indecision or desire to make a quick decision as the political posturing common as candidates and potential candidates stand on the precipice of the abyss that is a municipal election.

Giving Council the benefit of the doubt and accepting they need more time to select one of the five to do the simple task of chairing this term’s remaining two Council meetings, one hopes Council will crack open a six-pack of moxie and at least attempt to mask the impotence displayed to the media and the public Thursday evening.

Because when you strip away all the exterior veneer of emotions and whatever the hell else is going on behind the scenes, what is left is the need for one councillor who can preside over the two remaining meetings, sign a few cheques, and perhaps show a little bit of leadership for the other members of Council and this community.

Each of the five members of Council can and have run a meeting. Each of the fire members of Council can and have signed a few cheques. Each of the five members of Council can and have spoken to the public and to the media.

Each of the five members of Council was elected by voters to serve this community for the duration no matter how rough the waters would get. A leader is defined not on calm waters but while sailing on troubled seas.

Shakespeare wrote: “Uneasy is the head that wears the crown.” Indeed, a Council sitting on the edge of a municipal election, unclear as to whom among the five could or should lead, throws the governance of this community into a new light over the next 74 days leading up to Nomination Day.

That this Council will spend more time determining which councillor will serve as mayor for the 27 days between their next regular meeting and Nomination Day should be an embarrassment to each and every one of them.

If after three years together Council itself cannot select one of their own to lead for so short a period of time, what hope does the voter have come Oct. 21 in making those kinds of decisions?

They should have simply drawn straws and let the winner take command from their present chair because Thursday’s blinding display of weak leadership has cast some doubt as to their worthiness to assume the recently vacated middle chair.

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12 Comments

  1. Well my friend, you have stated the obvious – but in terms most of us can only hope to emulate…

    This is indeed a VERY scary situation; one which over the next couple of months is bound to become even more interesting. Most of your readers will know of my personal thoughts about our Administrative “bus driving” so it will come as no great shock for me to (once again) say that this kind of stuff can only bring joy to the hearts of our bureaucrats, for they will ALWAYS expand to fill the vacuum left by indecision.

    I can hardly wait to hear what comes from the lips of our mayoral AND council “wannabes” at the all-candidates forum. Stephen, you could probably charge admission and make a ton of money!

    This issue is not about to go away any time soon, folks…

    Have a nice day.

  2. Thanks Stephen for another EXTREMELY well written editorial. Cliff and I were also at the ‘special’ meeting and walked out discouraged and disgusted with the game playing, and tap dancing. I’m beginning to hope that some ‘surprise’ candidates come out of the woodwork that will shake up the current candidates. I kind of liked what Lloyd had to say about just draw straws and get on with it for the period of time in question.

    Thanks again for your well written thoughts.
    Linda Lyons

  3. Service to community without expectation of gain for oneself allows for good decsions from the heart and that my people becomes obvious to all within seconds.

    Ron

  4. Ron could you please clarify and explain exactly what you are saying in your comment?
    Thanks
    Linda Lyons

  5. If none of these councillors were willing to “put it on the line” for a mere few months, none of them get my vote.

  6. Once again, Stephen, well said.
    You called Paul an honest man- thank you for showing honesty yourself.

  7. Oops- small correction in my first comment. Lloyd did NOT make the comment about drawing straws, I read that in Stephen’s editorial. Sorry.
    Linda

  8. What is this? A safety meeting? Does our Council think “If nobody moves, nobody gets hurt”?

    Unfortunately that old adage is as untrue and unrealistic here as it is in a real safety meeting.

    Our Councils ‘refusal to move’ ahead with our previous Mayor’s hard work is ‘hurting’ our entire community.

    The self-serving expectation of Council, that this community should remain on autopilot and without leadership is appalling. If the Town were an airplane we would have 5 qualified pilots (Town Councillors) on board who are currently seated in the first class cabin, with none of them willing to step forward and take the controls.

    Perhaps we as a community should petition the Provincial Government to come to our aide, remove the reluctant pilots from the aircraft, and help navigate for us through this turbulent time.

  9. Carrie:
    It seems that council is on summer break anyway. Whats the rush?
    As for going to the Provincial Government for help, good luck, they refused to get involved even when the Town Council side stepped legal rulings. (Walking around the SDAB ruling prior to opening the MCCC without meeting conditions)

  10. Carrie, your comments are right on the money. Unfortunately, Tim is correct in his analysis of what to expect from THIS particular Provincial Government… THEY however, are unlikely to be in power for much longer, and perhaps the next mob will be a tad more responsive.

    In the meantime, we have OUR once-in-every-(now)four-years chance to elect a Mayor and Council with the intestinal fortitude to “Git ‘Er Done”! Let us not squander this opportunity.

    And as for Tim’s “It seems that council is on summer break anyway. What’s the rush?” comment – That’s one of the central problems with this honky-tonk outfit! Everything comes to an abrupt and shuddering halt and even accomplishing the simplest of tasks becomes vastly more difficult than should be necessary.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Administration LOVES this sort of thing, because it enables the bureaucracy to solidify their hold on the reins of power – and having a Council with no intestinal fortitude is akin to manna from heaven for these people.

    Pretty frustrating, isn’t it Carrie?

    Have a good weekend, folks!

  11. Maybe the problem isn’t the honky-tonk outfit but more your preception of what Morinville really is….. which is a “small town” in reality. If you need to have that 100% focused Council, ready to go on a 24/7 basis, then maybe your hoping for to much. After all these people are not being paid a full time salary.

  12. Believe me Tim, I KNOW EXACTLY what Morinville is – it IS a small town; in fact, it is a bedroom community… is, has and always will be.

    And while our Council need not be 100% focussed on their Council duties, I would at least expect them to pay considerably more attention to LEADING Administration, rather than merely being passengers on the bus.

    And if ANY of our Councillors is in it for the money, that’s really unfortunate, because we all know the ONLY people MAKING money on the taxpayers dime is our Town Administration and the multitude of contractors they insist are necessary to get things done!

    Here’s another example – we are told we need an Economic Development Officer. Let’s say we hire one. You don’t really believe it’s going to stop THERE do you?? No, this person will need – STAFF! Total cost?? Who knows? Here’s a concept – let’s pay this individual based solely on his/her performance. By this I mean he/she must have a target dollar value of NEW business taxes coming in EACH year, or he/she can only be paid a small percentage of his/her contracted salary. What a unique concept, eh… no more studies; no more consultants; just PAY for PERFORMANCE.

    Have a nice day!

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