An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
HOW MANY public offices should one person hold? Is one enough? Two? Three?
Kamloops Coun. Donovan Cavers wants two. He’s filed nomination papers to retain his seat on Kamloops council, as well as for a term on the Kamloops school board.
If he wins both it won’t be the first time someone has held more than one political job at once. Clearwater Coun. Shelley Sims is also on the school board. Clearwater Mayor John Harwood has served on both council and school board in the past.
Enthusiasm for public service is a good thing, but there are downsides to this idea of serving in more than one role.
Civic politicians often talk about how hard they work, about the hours they have to put in, the events they attend, the meetings they go to, and it’s true. And most of them fit in their civic duties around day jobs.
A lot of civic politicians switch from one arena to another, usually from school board to City council, for example. They take their political experience with them as they go.
But running for two jobs at once is different. When does public service become job shopping? When does it become hedging your political bets?
One has to ask whether anyone can be as effective holding two public offices as they can be holding just one. It’s possible to be as committed to running schools as to roads and sewers but I think that’s spreading yourself a little thin.
Cavers feels he’s capable of doing both jobs at the same time but he also says he just might withdraw from one of the two races by Friday’s deadline. After Friday, if you’ve filed papers, your name goes on the ballot regardless.
In my view, Cavers should take the opportunity and dedicate himself to seeking one job at a time but, of course, it would be up to the voters. The long-term solution is to amend legislation to prevent it happening in the first place.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.