It’s not easy being the mayor

Former Terrace councillor outlines challenges of elected office

By Marylin Davies

More so than in past years, the election door to city hall is going to be wide open when voters go to the polls in November.

The current mayor is not running again so this job is up for grabs. A sitting city councillor now wants the top job as does as a former city councillor. That frees up one council seat. The second council seat to be freed up is mine insofar as I resigned in the spring to move to our new home on Vancouver Island.

In all, that makes three seats for which there are no incumbents when voters gather to elect the mayor and six city council members.

If we are really lucky there will be a few candidates who have done their homework, know what the job entails and how much time it takes you away from your family. We should be blessed to have such candidates.

It is into this mix that you, the electorate, step.

We have a dismal turnout at election time.  Some put it down to disinterest, others to disgust, and still others to “who cares?”  with the opinion elected officials will do what they want anyway. A sad commentary on democratic heritage.

Your main dilemma is what do you want in a mayor. You want your mayor to be scrupulously honest, respected by his or her fellow citizens, other levels of government and city hall staffers. The mayor must be a person of the highest integrity in business and in personal life.

However, there is an ongoing saga of the Toronto mayor with his followers saying that what you do on your own time should not be scrutinized by the public, so common sense may not be so common any more.

Do you want a leader whose day job puts him/her in a position of conflict? Always the old faithful words “I will step out, if I am in conflict” come forth.

But the inference and suggestion of favouritism once established is embedded in the minds of those who need an advantage and by those who won’t try because they think the mayor’s choice is already made.

Then there is a little matter of attendance.  The mayor is one of seven elected by you to serve your community.

You have a right to expect regular attendance, a fair hearing on all matters, and an accessible leader who listens.

If the mayor is not available repeatedly, it tells you how little he values your opinion. (I’ll use ‘he’ here for ease of writing?)

As mayor it is his responsibility to communicate to the council, staff, and the community. He is a chair, an advocate for the council decisions, but not a dictator, and not allowed to elevate his opinions over that of his council.

Some would say he is merely the chairperson.  A good question to ask yourself is “will he listen to me” or are his opinions already formed, shaped by a special interest group?

While it is true the mayor and council are expected to weigh the opinions of all community interests – big business, small business, developers, retirees, social issues not to mention, roads, sewers, water, and recreation, policing, fire protection and city staffing – it is still their responsibility to balance a budget every year.  That’s a staggering responsibility even for those who are well paid.

Ask your candidates, what do you know about council in general, the time and commitment it takes, and lastly, if you are the successful mayoral candidate, what do you hope to accomplish to leave your mark on our community?

If you don’t like what you hear, you have the time and the responsibility as voters, to attempt to get candidates that reflect the community at large, and have a vision for the future.

It just might even be your turn to step up.  Nominations close in early October.  There is time to be proactive in selecting the next mayor.

Terrace has been blessed with a history of dedicated mayors whose commitment to the community has been exemplary.

It need not be any other way.

Marylin Davies was a Terrace city council member from 2001 to 2008 and again from 2011 to this spring when she resigned and moved to Vancouver Island.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

Kieran Christison, manager of Daybreak Farms in Terrace inspects eggs on Oct. 30, 2020. Christison wants to transition to a zero waste, cage-free facility. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Daybreak Farms aiming to achieve zero-waste, cage-free facility

Kieran Christison, manager, presented the farm’s future plans to Terrace city council

Mercedes Trigo, assistant manager, said that Trigo’s Lifestyle Store in Terrace has experienced four broken windows and an attempted break-in recently, leaving her feeling unsupported by bystanders and the police. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Trigo’s management frustrated by property damage, theft

In a little over a month there have been four broken windows and an attempted break-in at the store

Two RCMP officers have been recognized for their actions in responding to an incident involving a man with a weapon at 4501 Park Ave. on the afternoon of April 27, 2020. RCMP say it was an isolated incident and there is no danger to the general public. (Jake Wray photo)
Terrace RCMP officers recognized for acts of bravery

Two involved in arrest of armed suspect

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read