We, the citizens of Innisfail, have important decisions to make on Monday, Oct. 16.
While there has been some “civic concerns” within the last year, the next mayor and council will also face challenges, one of which may be rebuilding the confidence and trust of the mayor and council. Making progress is never without problems.
Our community needs strong and committed leaders who are well qualified for the position they seek. As we think about the future of our community, a central question emerges: For whom shall I vote? I would like to suggest some of the qualities needed in our civic leaders:
Experienced in service: While experience on previous councils may be an asset it’s not a requirement. More important is a record of service to others, perhaps in their careers and/or within the community. Fortunately, we have a good mix of candidates who have previous experience on council and first-time candidates from which to choose.
Positive and proactive thinking: We want people on council who can think “big picture.” We need leaders who are able to assess the needs of our community and articulate a positive picture of Innisfail’s future.
We want leaders who engage the community so that we move forward together.
I feel that for too many years Innisfail’s population growth and economic development has been marginal, at best. The good news is that we have excellent fiscal reserves.
We need the mayor and council to articulate a strategic planning and reporting process. The planning should engage the citizens and the reporting should inform us of our progress. Recently, this has not been the case.
While the outgoing CAO presented a very informative legacy report of her time as CAO to council and the community this past summer, the town’s strategic planning and reporting processes are very limited and/or unknown.
The Town of Innisfail does strategic planning within departments and has strategic priorities. However, regularly reporting, in the form of the CAO legacy report to the citizens, is not done. Once every seven years is not enough.
Problem solvers and communicators: For the last year, we have seen the previous council struggle with management of difficult issues and communication to resolve the issues (e.g. skateboard park placement, fired fire chief). We need leaders who can listen, make tough decisions and communicate within the council, with town staff and with the community.
Strength of character: We all do well when things are going well. However, we need leaders who work well under pressure and in challenging circumstances. We need leaders who are comfortable in the public eye and can withstand the pressures of the job.
The “court of public opinion” can be very unfair, as citizens often don’t have all the facts to make informed decisions. To what extent is each candidate able to handle issues, concerns and face the pressure of unpopular decisions?
On Oct. 16, when you enter the polling booth, I would ask you to vote “strategically.” Vote only for the candidate(s) who you believe possess the above-mentioned qualities.
We will be electing six councillors. You may choose to vote for up to six councillors. It is not a requirement to choose six councillors.
If you are not confident that a particular candidate possesses these qualities, then do not vote for that person just to complete six choices.