Who Does What

Re: Accountability – it is fast approaching! by Ken Thrasher July 30, 2014 RTT

I’ve been called a naysayer too, and a thorn in the side as well as a critic; my all time favourite is the accusation that some of us were tearing this community down, brick by brick; shame on those who undertake tactics to discourage residents who wish to exercise their democratic freedoms.

Since January of this year, there have been approximately two dozen correspondence items regarding an accessibility policy question to council and the accessibility advisory committee, but my question remains unanswered.

Absent a motion by council, two weeks ago Mr. Phipps emailed a summary to council and me; not only does it contain errors and omissions that need to be corrected, but also he decreed “Administration will take no further action on this matter unless it is once again raised at a Council meeting.”

How many times do I have to request that council and/or the accessibility advisory committee address my concern? Then again, I’ve requested an accessible town website for twelve years and I’m still waiting for that and it was a decade long battle for me to get the library elevator installed.

The roles of council, head of council, and municipal administration are clearly defined in the municipal act so there should be no misinterpretation of who does what.

Council is to represent the public and ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council; to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality; to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality.

As chief executive officer of a municipality, the head of council shall promote public involvement in the municipality’s activities.

Municipal administration is to implement council’s decisions and establish administrative practices and procedures to carry out council’s decisions.

Regarding the hiring of a new CAO, why and how was the panel selected? What are the members’ qualifications? Was there an Information and Privacy Commissioner privacy assessment, considering residents are panel members who will access personal information? Is it a conflict of interest for Phipps to be a member? Did council rescind his notice to leave? Why would council acquiesce to the CAO, who changed his mind and wants to stay?

Unlike Mr. Thrasher, the only Councillor who consistently and professionally responds to my concerns is Councillor Pouget. When others did respond, my inquiries were forwarded to staff. I’m beginning to wonder why we need a council, let alone all the staff.

As for the new council, the electorate needs to ask the candidates specific questions because, for the most part, campaign literature contains limited marketing material.

Linda Saxon
as printed in the River Town Times