ARMCHAIR MAYOR SAYS — One more followup to the methodology of the citizens’ committee/task force that reviewed Kamloops City council salaries and recommended a whopping increase (about 36 per cent) for councillors:
In his popular Your Kamloops blog, Coun. Arjun Singh posted an entry headlined “Thoughts on the Armchair Mayor’s Thoughts on the Council Remuneration Decision Process.”
Arjun wrote, “I am not sure why Mel thinks the committee engaged ‘in a little public consultation’. If he is still thinking a referendum, okay, I can see that. But the committee solicited feedback and 413 people responded… As a public engagement practitioner, I think that’s a very high number for committee feedback with this type of issue.”
The committee based most of its feedback on a questionnaire it put together. (See Rothenburger: Activists or Just Council Members?) In Thursday’s Kamloops Daily News). A questionnaire is inherently restrictive in the type and range of response you get. A public meeting or two would have rounded out the process.
The second reason for my comment about “a little consultation” is the decision to close all the committee’s meetings. That’s no fault of the committee — it was set up by staff and, as a staff committee rather than a council committee, it wasn’t obligated to follow the normal rules of transparency for the conduct of City Hall meetings.
In fact, the committee was specifically directed not to open up its meetings. I wrote about these same two points — closed committee meetings and no public meetings — in a June 26 post on this blog called “Proposed task force on pay for City council falls short.”
Hasanen did an excellent job as chair, and the committee obviously took its job seriously. It’s just that I think the consultation process could and should have been more thorough.