Letter to Editor: The Search for A Good Leader

In less than a week our municipal election will be over and residents will have four years to find out if they voted for the right candidates. As you decide who will best represent the interests of your community here are a few points to keep in mind.

• A council member should be prepared to represent the whole community on a wide variety of issues; not just a specific geographic area or pet project.

• Elected officials have the difficult task of governing the municipality; which includes setting the course for the municipality, understanding the wishes of the public, and identifying the policies that will give administration the direction to meet these wishes.
Administration has the role of managing the day-to-day business of the municipality. Council member who see their role as a duplication or extension of staff will only cause confusion, and will leave us without the governance and leadership we need.

• Council and administration are motivated by the same thing: public service. I truly believe staff do not wake up in the morning trying to think of evil ways to waste tax payers dollars. We need a council that has respect for the role of administration and who will work in partnership with staff to meet the community’s needs.

• Yes, council needs to challenge administration. They need to make certain that pertinent information has been provided, and that all alternatives have been identified. But, the residents of Morinville will not be well served by council members acting as the official opposition to administration. And we will definitely not be well served by a council who wants to come in and “clean house”. In the end this will only result in a loss of corporate knowledge and in the end will just cost tax payers more.

Joan Agnew

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  1. Could not have said it better myself. Council sets strategic direction based on input from the community. There is a huge difference between steering the boat and rowing the boat !!

  2. Good points, Lloyd and Joan.

    Using Lloyd’s analogy, the new council needs to make sure that they do their research and pick the right course for Morinville as a whole. They then need to give the administration its marching orders and let them decide the best administrative mechanism to get there.

    To do its job properly, Council must do regular checks to make sure everything is on track and progressing as it needs to, which is why you ask questions and get regular progress reports. But in the end, they need to give the task to the administration and let them amaze council and the taxpayers with how they achieve results. If they don’t get results, council needs to find out why and then correct the problem asap.

    Too many oars in the water, all going different directions, taking up administration’s time with pointless, redundant or self-serving questions will get Morinville nowhere. Knowing what questions to ask the administration, without them having to spend all their time chasing answers, will help speed the town where it needs to go. Joan’s point about not the newly elected officials catering to pet projects or personal agendas is key. They need to do what is best for Morinville now and in the future.

    A council and mayor that try to micro-manage everything, or a clean sweep without considering the impacts, will not help Morinville become more efficient and effective in how we govern our town. It’s all about checks and balances.

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