Letter: Lots of homework

Dear Editor,

Homework in school.
Homework in Council.
Homework in life.

Information can be misconstrued, misunderstood, and misrepresented in its retelling. That is why I started attending village council meetings for myself. Last one was June 9, 2015. I did not know what to think when I heard about secret meetings, backstabbing, petitions. I believe there was a meeting last week of citizens about 8th and 9th Avenue residents who were and still are affected by sewage backup twice in Sept. 2014. This issue has not been resolved yet. Residents understandably want answers. Petitions – do they not arise out of a shared concern of many?

As far as comments about these meetings and the petition, if a person was not at the meetings how can they say there was backstabbing? And why the conflict of interest issue? Did no one establish ownership of the insurance company beforehand? Wouldn’t it have saved a lot of time that could have been spent on the “backlog of work”? The report by Nichols Applied Management does say “staff workloads are not excessive”.

Another comment – “Council has yet to identify a new set of priorities” – pertaining to what? A CAO job description? Why should the Village “adopt a CAO bylaw, adopt a policy and procedure for hiring, evaluating and terminating a CAO”? Is this not already defined as are positions of Mayor, Councillor, etc. If not – why not?

Also, should relationships among council be the priority and not the public who voted them in?
I am concerned for our village. What is council’s plan for enticing investors and businesses to bring us to a thriving, not dying, community?

Comment from the editorial of the Rocky Mountain Goat, June 10th issue – does the report say administration is spending considerable time trying to ensure council members are working within the legalities of the community charter? Why is this an issue? Shouldn’t they be anyway?

The report says, “many CAO’s have very different qualifications, and some have done incredibly well with no formal qualifications.” What is this statement in aid of? Just words? How can a job be posted without a description of duties and qualifications required? Are there no guidelines within the Provincial Charter for a CAO? If not, what happens if there are concerns of performance? Is it council’s place to do job descriptions? What is meant by professional growth?

Oh, so many questions and so much homework to do!

Respectfully,
Eveline Kolida
Valemount

Editor’s note: The full report from the consultant says in section 3.3 the suboptimal relationship which currently exists between Council and the incumbent CAO is a significant concern because it is already compromising administration’s capacity to deliver municipal programs and services. It says “a significant amount of administrative time is being devoted to ensuring that Members of Council are working within the legalities of the Community Charter.” I agree that is part of administration’s job. But I don’t know why it should take “significant” time, unless Council is arguing with their staff. My point in mentioning the variety of qualifications was to say that sometimes it’s not simply about qualifications, but I agree with you Eveline – if minimum qualifications are required, they should be in the job posting. But if someone was hired based on other criteria, as often happens, a professional development plan can be worked out where the employee can achieve the minimum requirements. Thank you for all of your questions Eveline, I have many of the same questions myself.

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