Dummies guide for civic leaders

Dear Editor:

Not too long ago, a series of “Books For Dummies” appeared on the retail book shelves. There was one of these for many heretofore subjects that were somewhat controversial or open to interpretation.

The topics range from basic finance, to basketball, to speaking a language, for computers and so on. Each one of these books is based on a premise and supported by ideas that hopefully make things clearer.

However, there is one important one that seems to be missing and that might be “Mayor and Council for Dummies.”

If such a book were written, it would most likely be based on the following premises:

The Position of Mayor:

The role of the Mayor as the head of council is to:

• act as chief executive officer

• provide information and make recommendations to Council with respect to Council’s role in ensuring that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council and in ensuring the accountability and transparency of the operations of the City, including the activities of the senior management of the City.

Ah yes, there’s that premise ensuring the “accountability and transparency of the operations of the City, including the activities of the senior management of the City again.”

Darn, how I hate it when that premise comes to the fore, don’t you?  Hmm… transparency and accountability! Has a certain ring to it doesn’t it? What? Not here you say? Our mayor would vehemently disagree with you on that point, I’d wager.

The role of Council:

Councillors, also known as Members of Council, play both a legislative role and a constituency role. In their legislative role they are responsible for considering and establishing policies and by-laws to implement Council’s decisions.

“In their constituency role Councillors are responsible for consulting with the constituents of their ward and for ensuring that all sides of an issue are considered in the decision making process.”

Well  folks, there are some basic premises for a “Book for Dummies on Mayor & Council” that one day might be written. I guess the overall point might be “who are the dummies here?”

 Ron Barillaro

Penticton