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.



Just Posted

New funding opens for industry innovation

Northern Development Initiative Trust opened new funds, focused on areas impacted by the pine beetle

Former resident wins filmmaking award

Veronika Kurz will be able to make her film with $15,000 cash and in-kind services, up to $100,000

Terrace River Kings win CIHL regular season

The boys held a strong enough lead in points to claim the banner after a 15-2 win Saturday

Terrace residents discuss poverty at provincial engagement meeting

80 people were there as well as the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Shames Mountain named one of the world’s Top 10 ski resorts

The UK magazine listed Shames alongside Whistler and hills in Italy, Japan and Austria

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Players sought for National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

ISPARC calls for bantam/midget players to register for selection camp in Kamloops

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read