We don’t need 2 city clerks

Dear Editor:

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 its release 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: “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 Lake Park.

The mayor signed the lease while hundreds of protesters were in the street outside city hall.

Does the 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: “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.

Nothing that comes out of city hall surprises me anymore, especially when we’re “dollar strapped” yet hire another person ($85,000) to do the work of persons who are already working there.

Jake Kimberley.

Penticton