Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Proliferation of Resignations from Local Elected Office

Yesterday - CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk interviewed local government consultant and former Nanaimo City Manager Jerry Berry on the topic of multitude of resignations from local elected office in such places like McBride, Lantzville, Burns Lake, Pouce Coupe and now Port Clements.  He says that prior to the change to a 4 year elected term, resignation from local office was a rare act however since 4 year local elected terms began for the 2014-18 Term, the number of resignations occurring thus far in a large number of locations is a "disturbing trend"

Mr. Berry says, in his view, there are 3 challenges for those in elected local office:

1) Time to Serve
2) Stipend paid to Mayor, Councillors and Regional District Electoral Area Directors'
3) Increasing Complexity in Local Government

View detailed review of this item here

With the exception of places like Warfield and Midway where employment changes forced the Mayors' in those communities to unfortunately leave office, there are a number of communities where personality conflict, if you dig deep enough, was either the partial or direct cause for local elected officials to resign.

Such communities include McBride, Pouce Coupe, Ashcroft and Lantzville

Although one should try and see what the role (Electoral Area Director, School Trustee, Mayor or Councillor) entails and the pay involved PRIOR to running, if people can't get along and "dig in their heels" - then no amount of training will help WITHOUT external intervention via a conflict resolution practitioner.

Personally - I think resignation from office, once elected, should be the absolute last resort option if ALL else fails.  One has an moral obligation, once elected, to do what you can to 'make it work'.  Particularly this is true of those in Regional Districts.  If you are an Electoral Area Director, you don't get to pick your 'partner', whether from Electoral Areas or Muncipalities and you have to do what you can to make it work... and use 'conflict resolution' tools at your disposal to resolve interpersonal issues.... and this is also true in a lesser sense, due to lower membership numbers, of School Boards and Municipal Councils'

Finally - as I said to former Prince George Mayor Shari Green and current Fort St John Mayor Lori Ackermann on Twitter yesterday evening - it's important to keep perspective.  Often it's easy to get 'down' with the job due to stress, either from your own colleagues or from sometimes demanding constituents, however there will be days when the life of elected office will bring you satisfaction because you were able to resolve a problem brought to you from your constituents or because you were able to successfully deliver on a campaign goal...

Listen to the interview of Mr. Berry here

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