Nothing surprises me out of city hall

I return home from England to discover that this supposed dollar strapped council has found $85,000 to hire an “engagement contractor.”

A person who has the responsibility of “both developing an engagement strategy but also engaging the community on upcoming and ongoing city projects.”

Now that fits the job description of a city clerk and the mayor. The responsibility  of getting the message out of city hall to the community and the media, is and always has been within the job description of the city clerk, publicly supported by the mayor.

The general process,  council’s message is drafted by the city clerk, then reviewed by the city administrator and endorsed, who then takes it to the Mayor before it’s released to the media and the public.

So with the hiring of an “engagement contractor” we will now have two city clerks working out of city hall. For this mayor and council to suggest to its residents that this position is desperately needed shows their lack understanding on the responsibilities of senior management.

Then for the mayor to justify the hiring of this new person, by stating, and I quote:

“We should have been more diligent with providing, or demanding, a more engagement plan, maybe 60 days instead of 30.” What the mayor was referring to when making this statement was the failure of himself as chief executive officer and his council was their collective failure to get their message out by 60 days instead of 30 days against the biggest protest in the history of this city against the commercialization through a 29-year lease of Skaha Park.   The lease, which the mayor signed while the protesters were in the street outside city hall.

What cloud is this council in city hall living on? Do you, mayor and council, honestly think that if you had hired this “engagement contractor” prior to signing the 29-year lease for a commercially owned and operated waterslide in Skaha Park the protests and court challenges would never have happened?

The mayor then goes on to state, quote in part, ”I don’t respond to everyone, I try not to get into a back and forth … not really engaging in the debate, but at least addressing part of it.”

Sorry Mr. Mayor that is in your job description, “engaging in the debate” and addressing all of it, not just “part of it” with anyone and everyone. Is that’s what known as putting your head in the sand?

So now you’ve hired someone to do the city clerks job and assist you to “engage” with the people who employ you and pay you to communicate councils decisions/initiatives and projects to us everyday you are mayor. Nothing surprises me anymore what comes out of city hall especially when we’re “dollar-strapped” and we hire another person to do the work of persons who are already working there.

Jake Kimberley