Our City Hall is broken, and I’m not just referring to the cracking exterior plaster or the prematurely gutted Planning Department offices. The cracks that I’m referring to can only be repaired by us… the voters.
So what is the problem?
Over the past six years our City Hall has increasingly become weighed down by burdensome bureaucracy. Now I realize that bureaucracy exists in all government, however in Revelstoke it appears the bureaucrats have either been given command of the ship, or simply have taken it, and have driven us onto the rocks.
So what happened?
The Mayor and Councilors that we elect to be leaders haven’t been doing what they were elected to do, and that is to lead. Instead they have become increasingly reliant on the input and direction from the bureaucrats. You only have to look at some examples over the past several years to see the cracks showing:
- The concept of “streamlining” City Hall is to hire another administrative position in the form of a Director of Communications, at $111,000.00 per year, and then dismiss him after two months. Yet they don’t replace him (so I guess they didn’t really need that position);
- Demolish the Planning Dept. offices on a whim, and then scrambled to get a design to put it back together, for $800,000.00 (Item 1, Table 8, Pg. 3 of 2013-2017 Financial Plan);
- Revise the Building Permit application so it is now 16 pages long; and
- We have a CAO who has had to make a public apology for his treatment of a respected senior staffer without consulting City Council.
So why did this happen?
That is very simple, the Mayor, being a career bureaucrat, sees the situation as normal, and the Councilors seem to not realize that it is their roll to direct the staff, not the other way around. In all honesty they probably feel that they have been doing their job. They go to council meeting and they make decisions, however the items that they deal with are not of their making, they are not their ideas and initiatives, designed with a vision of the future and to move Revelstoke forward on a charted course. Instead it’s all just more self-serving bureaucracy put forward by the bureaucrats, and no one seems to be willing to question the necessity.
So what do we do about it?
On November 15 we have an opportunity to sweep out City Hall. There are enough capable and competent candidates running in this election that we can replace the Council and Mayor with a strong team that I believe can create a plan and vision for our City, and then direct and work with the staff to bring it to reality.
However it all comes down to us… the voters, having the courage to initiate change and realizing that the status quo has got to go.