Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nanaimo City Council Candidates 2011

Nanaimo 2011 Municipal Election
City Council Candidates

It is a little less than four months to the civic elections in Nanaimo, and most of us would far sooner be enjoying relaxing summer activites (assuming summer comes this year) than we would like to be thinking about the next city election this fall.

However, this is a good time to start thinking about what direction you seriously think our 'leaders' should be taking our fine city and examining where this current council has taken us this past three years.

To be fair I will have to ask the readers of this blog to point out the positives accomplished by this 24th City Council of Nanaimo, as I can find precious little to offer  a sincere 'well done' based on their performance of the past three years. It is difficult to actually assess how this council arrives at decisions as it would seem the 'in camera' process has been one embraced most heartily by this council. The level of debate witnessed at city council meetings leaves you to wonder if much thought is actually given to the decision making process whatever, and the level of debate leaves much to be desired when trying to evaluate councilors rationale.

Will we ever know which councilors supported spending $16 million on a new office for city staff without going to a public tender? Will we ever know, why they have refused to hold the line on city tax increases in favour of building this new office for city staff? Why are they so afraid of telling the public why they supported this expenditure if they are confident it was a good decision. The Mayor is quoted as saying they might have done it differently, if they had more time. What exactly did he mean by that? Was city staff threatening some kind of action if this matter wasn't dealt with quickly?

Why did we fill the most important position at city hall without having a full-on competition for the job? I am sure Mr. Kenning is a capable fellow, but considering our city manager is being paid in the top one half of one percent of 8181 employees in the province it would seem prudent we widen the competition to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck.

These are just a couple of questions Nanaimo voters should be pondering as they decide who they will want to lead us forward for the next three years. This is the time to seriously look at the performance of each sitting councilor and decide if they are really the people you want managing your tax dollars for the years to come.

Two questions which should be answered by any candidate wishing to be elected as a city councillor in the next election are:

1. Do you favour zero based budgeting every three years, which requires each city hall department to justify spending every cent they are spending and not keeping money in their budget which they don't need, but is still there because it has never been removed. In keeping with this question you might want to question how city staff management squirreled away $12 million in cash for their new office. I never remember that being discussed openly at budget time, did you?

2. Do you support a core review of how your city hall is managed by an OUTSIDE source and not simply asking staff to evaluate themselves. It won't be rocket science to know how they will evaluate their own performance.


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