The life of an elected council is nothing if not predictable. It doesn’t matter who’s elected or what the political climate is like, the life and death of a term in local office always follows the same pattern.
First is the honeymoon, where the “I just started” excuse is more than allowed and the novelty of the big chair and name plate is still strong. Then, as the first months go by, novelty is replaced by piles and piles of reports accompanied by the unmistakable taste of work. This usually arrives the same time as the first crisis. So, the learning curve continues until you reach the end of the first year and you finally have the knowledge and courage to get that big o’ ball rolling.
This leads to the second year when feet are planted, sleeves are rolled, and council has an idea of what can be done.
Around the third year however things change as those elected decide if they want the job again. This leads to two groups, the first of which are those that don’t want to come back so they can do whatever they please without fear of facing the electorate. The other group is rendered almost useless as each and every action is taken thinking how it will play out in an election. In essence they start campaigning.
As of this week we’ve entered the midpoint of this term and perhaps the best word that can be used to describe this group is, how shall we say - dysfunctional. Certainly councils have been called worse, and this is not a terminal diagnosis. Dysfunction can be overcome, but you have to want it. And boy do I want them to want it.
It’s not like good isn’t being done, it’s just hard to see through all the infighting. And although the problem isn’t entirely his fault, responsibility does lie in that big chair in the middle. Our current mayor was put in a very difficult position last election when he ran un-opposed (I respect Terrill but he’s not a serious mayoral candidate). Many regret not running against him and because of that, people are rightly plotting not to make the same mistake again.
The mayor recently commented that people are beginning to act like they’re running for mayor: well I bloody well hope so. While no one wants 18 months of campaigning, no one wants what we have now either with a tremendous lack of respect flying in all directions. Alone, each elected official obviously cares about our town as they represent our diverse community. Together however, there seems to be some serious communication issues.
The way I see it our Mayor has a year and a half to make his mark. Either
way he will be remembered for leading our community during the largest
growth in our town’s history. And while his second term began with
bickering and a distressing lack of cohesion it ended with...