Letter: In favour of municipal government recall

Now that the provincial government has given us the four-year terms for local government my opinion has changed.

Speaking as a former mayor, the issue of recall now being promoted for municipal government has been around for quite a while.

Back when councils were elected to two year terms only, the then provincial government, as I recall, believed recall would create an unstable local government if every time a councillor was challenged on their opinion or the way they voted, council would be distracted from looking after the interests of their community at large. Particularly in the smaller communities it would create a major concern, councils could lose their quorum.

I agreed with the provincial government reasoning back then, however, now that the provincial government has given us the four-year terms for local government my opinion has changed.

When a person is first elected to council it’s generally understood that there is at least a six month learning period they will go through. That should be an understanding of those who voted them in there.

I know some of the newly elected councillors that I have worked with were quite shocked when discovering the extent of their responsibilities when they are handed their package of rules, regulations and committee responsibilities.

Now that we have four year terms for local governments, it is my opinion newly elected councillors, mayors should be judged on their performance and understanding of their responsibilities within the first 18 months of their term.

If they are not sincere in their position, if they have failed to educate themselves on the policy and city bylaws; if they have failed to attend their appointed committees as required; and if they have failed within the first three-months to understand the Roberts Rules of Order that they work with, then they should be challenged to a recall.

However, the recall voting ballot has to ask questions of the voter;

1) In voting to eject this person from their elected office are you as a resident prepared to pay the cost for a by-election through taxation?

2) What is your reasoning to have this councillor recalled; because of failure to recognize and perform their elected responsibilities to this decision.

3) Has this councillor insulted the general populace with any insulting or demeaning language, politically incorrect language?

The answers to these questions would in my opinion justify the recall of an elected councillor or mayor. The recall at 18 months, would allow the city to conduct a byelection, which would allow the newly elected person to fill a two year term.

Our democracy would also allow the person to be recalled to submit their name for re-election.

The first question has to be a recognition there is a cost associated to a recall and potential by-election. The second question would have to state a specific issue voted on against the majority interests of the residents. The third question is simply the issue of political correctness that we all have to adhere to today.

More importantly, as an elected person to public office you should be ousted for any insult directed at a specific group of voters that put you there.

Jake Kimberley

Penticton