Editorial: Council’s role is about community

A brief discussion on what the role of a municipal councillor is and isn't

It’s about a year before the citizens of Sooke have the opportunity to elect a new mayor and council. It may be time to think about the job each elected official has done over the past year and a half. Have they done a good job?

The role of council is sometimes misinterpreted by council itself. Councillors are there to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community and contribute to development and evaluation of policies and programs. They are the policy makers, the mayor is the chief executive officer and it is the CEO who gives direction to municipal officers. It is not council’s job to micro-manage internal municipal affairs.

When council oversteps their perimeters this can make the entire organization dysfunctional. At council meetings there is often differing opinions, and there should be, but what should not happen is blatant disrespect for the mayor or any other members of council, or municipal officers. While disagreement is common and expected, what is not wanted is interference in matters not the province of council. It’s disrespectful and one cannot even imagine how the people hired to do the jobs at city hall feel.

While some on council may be vying for the mayor’s chair, they had better remember their past record. If they can’t play nice and think they know more than anyone else, chances are others, like the electorate, have them figured out. Sitting on council is one thing, but sitting in the mayor’s chair is another. It is often a thankless, time consuming and extensive job and one that is harder than it appears. People love you when things go their way and dislike you when they don’t. That is a sad fact.

And to top it all off, the pay isn’t that great either.

Local government is the closest to the people and council has to place the community’s interests above its own and have pride in the reputation of the municipal corporation. It’s your legacy.