Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Reasons for distrust in Penticton

The upcoming municipal election bodes well for future change in that area of governance

It has been obvious for some time that the confidence of Penticton resident’s in city administration’s ability or desire to manage city affairs in the resident’s best interests had sunk to a deplorable level over the past couple of administrations.

The reasons for this distrust have been discussed at length in the local media and deal mainly with mis-aligned priorities and general mis-management. With the recent regime change in senior staff, there is at least hope for some return to sensible policies and governance. I say hope, not definitive assurance, as only time will tell.

The upcoming municipal election, in one year’s time, also bodes well for future change in that area of governance. If the people who took us to where we are now are no longer present, the chance for meaningful change is enhanced.

The administration of the city is composed of two parts; the elected mayor and council and the administrative staff. The part played by each group in getting to the current situation can’t be determined due to lack of information, but it is obvious that both entities were complicit in part.

As the elected officials establish the general priorities and direction in conjunction with the official community plan, and ultimately make the final decisions, we understandably hold them accountable to ensure that things run smoothly and efficiently.

The chief administrative officer is responsible for the performance of city staff. Understandably, an incoming CAO needs time to assess the capabilities of his inherited staff, and restructure as required. In the past, it appeared as if no one accepted responsibility for anything, and there was a general lack of accountability in general. This of course must change if we expect to obtain optimum results.

As stated, we the electorate can control only one aspect of administration, that being who we elect. The increase in the length of term in office makes this decision even more critical than in the past. I have recently exchanged correspondence with the NDP Ministry of Municipal Affairs regarding recall and term in office for elected municipal officials with a view to reduction of term to three years. Their final word on this subject was; “The benefits of the four year term are balanced against the rights of citizens to collectively make a choice about their governance in local general elections.”

We can look for no help there as the message is; you elected them, you live with them.

Lets hope that we can elect representatives in the next election who will encompass all our interests, not just those of the business community as appears to have been the case in the recent past.

Claude Bergman


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