By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
Kamloops City council will change the way it decides who will sit on the TNRD board beginning with next year’s civic election.
The council approved a change Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2017) that will see the mayor and the top five vote-getting councillors represent Kamloops on the regional board. That’s a change from the normal system set out in the Community Charter that says members of municipal councils must decide among themselves who will be appointed to regional district boards.
But the change is allowable because all the council has to do is ratify the mayor and top five vote getters as their choice after each election.
It’s a modest change, one that will do no harm, though it’s not a major game-changer, either. Mayor Ken Christian asked for it, saying it will provide more consistency on who the City’s directors are from term to term, and that’s good for the TNRD.
I don’t really see that for two reasons: it won’t actually provide a lot more consistency — at least from term to term — and consistency in City directors hasn’t been an issue anyway.
On the other hand, the new way of doing things will remove a bit of friction from within council, and there’s been some of that as various councillors jostle for TNRD appointments. Keep in mind the TNRD appointments bring with them an extra stipend.
The other reason the mayor gave was that it will give the public “an opportunity to weigh in” on the City’s TNRD reps. Seems a stretch. Kamloops voters will have a ballot on which they’ll choose their councillors, and one on which they’ll choose the mayor. The TNRD won’t be on them.
The idea that voters will mark their ballots based in any way on who they want to sit on the TNRD doesn’t work.
There are a couple of other ways the council could make its TNRD selections. One would be to actually put the question on a different ballot, which was done in at least one election, but that was before the Community Charter was implemented.
The other would be to leave the decision to the mayor, which was also done up until a dozen years ago. The council then simply ratified the mayor’s choice.
However, as I say, there’s nothing much lost by trying out the new method. At the least, it simplifies the decision for council. And, if the City makes a point of raising awareness about the TNRD, that would be a definite advantage.
A broader knowledge of the services provided by this important level of government would be good all round, so that’s a definite plus for this new way of picking who the City sends to the regional table.