Hello Tim, I am a local citizen who was in attendance at the all candidates forum. While the evening did hit on the big issues facing our city (housing, economic growth, transportation, etc) it didn’t give us very much insight about the individual candidates. I have come up with a few questions that hopefully you will have time to answer. I will send these out to all of the candidates. During your term on council, what has been your great accomplishment? What has been the hardest decision you’ve made on council? What is needed to make the mayor’s office stronger? What is your current process for receiving input from the public? Is it working? If reelected will you change it? What existing relationships do you maintain with provincial and federal office? What skills do you bring to mediating conflict? Including social media and at council? Thanks for your time!
Thx Kristal: Great Q’s
Greatest Accomplishment: It’s a broad one. Decisions don’t happen until there are at least 4 votes for a majority position. That means it’s always imperative to be understanding others’ stances and aligning where a path is to proceed. Sometimes that’s a quick and easy process. In more complicated or controversial or multiple options situations, it’s all about collaboration, clarification and even brokering ways forward. I’d say that I excel at that and it’s been my biggest contribution. There are a ton of specific initiatives that I’m proud of but in the end, those are all group decisions.
Hardest decision: It’s always budget time for me and deciding, as we do in each of our homes, how to allocate limited finances amidst all of the demands that are all worthwhile. Making sure that the basics (roads, drinking water and waste treatment) are covered, that we have reserve funds in place (we have many) so we’re not having to borrow as much, providing community services (transit, recreation, arts & culture etc). We provide 1.6 million dollars in tax exemptions and grants for organizations that contribute to the betterment of SA. A new fire truck was recently needed. It cost just under $500,000. We had the reserves to pay for it rather than going to borrowing. Those are the hard but critical decisions that resonate for me.
Make the mayor’s office stronger: It’s all about the style of leadership given that the mayor, in our local govt system, is one vote in 7 . The general public ascribes more power to the mayor than actually exists. To be effective, it’s the leadership qualities of the person in that mayor’s seat. It’s all about having the skills to align council, community stakeholders and higher levels of govt.
How I receive input: Basically you name it I do it. I’m completely responsive no matter if it’s via email, voice mail or social media. Those in the know figure out that I like coffee and can often be found at PieCo or EcoTreats. It’s working and I’ll carry on as usual.
Relationships with other levels of govt: We all have general ones with our MP, MLA and with leaders of other local govts plus we specifically designate individual councillors to handle specific files. As an example, Louise and I, working on Affordable Housing are lead contacts in ministerial mtgs, contacts with ministerial staff etc. and the go-to’s for questions from council. We all handle a number of initiatives. I’m also involved with regional bodies with the ORL and a director at large with SILGA – representing the 37 local govts (incl. SA) in the Southern Interior
Conflict mediation skills: I’ll refer to my opening answer on “accomplishments”. This is all about aligning varying interests between multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders. Active listening, forging trust, understanding the underlying dynamics and context, good data and a touch of straight talk all go a long way. At a local govt level it’s all about putting aside the partisanship of higher level politics, having respectful discussions and committing to the best made-in-Salmon Arm solutions possible regardless of the “location” of the convos.