EDITORIAL – Lack of experience on council presents challenges

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

KAMLOOPS VOTERS were cautious Saturday, electing a steady-as-she-goes City council they trust will be good day-to-day stewards of their interests.

But the fine tuning results in a council with a noticeable lack of experience.

Besides four brand new faces — Bill Sarai, Dale Bass, Mike O’Reilly and Sadie Hunter — another councilor, Kathy Sinclair, has only a year on the job. Similarly, Ken Christian has only a year as mayor under his belt.

So, there are actually only three of nine council members — Arjun Singh, Denis Walsh and Dieter Dudy — with experience in their jobs prior to the 2017 by-election.

But, it will all be OK. New members will go through a detailed orientation about City structure, procedures and issues. They’ll receive workshops from staff, plenty of homework and get the grand tours of various City departments.

With the swearing-in ceremony Nov. 5 and their first regular council meeting the following day, they’ll have to be quick studies.

The first thing they’ll find out is that campaign rhetoric about asking tough questions doesn’t cut it in office. Councillors have to be able to answer tough questions as well.

The second thing they’ll learn is that the wheels of civic government turn slowly, very slowly. Change is a work in progress.

The issues are clear cut — taxes, affordable housing, drugs, crime, biosolids, business development. There’s no disagreement on that. Where the rookies can make their mark is in finding new and creative ways to deal with them.

But what happened to Donovan Cavers and Ray Dhaliwal?

Dhaliwal’s loss after only 12 months on the council might be because he was too quiet.

Cavers, on the other hand, had no trouble speaking up, but just maybe his decision to run for both a council and school board seat was a factor. Whatever it was, he brought a unique perspective to council chambers, one that was valuable.

But, congratulations to the winners. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what this election means to women in politics in Kamloops.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (7716 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Lack of experience on council presents challenges

  1. The “issues” are all to be boiled down to money, otherwise known as fiscal responsibility. One cannot remain silent to the many ways City staff spends. A myriad of questionable “beautification” projects for example with highly questionable outcomes and for which basic free market approach (at least three competing bids) is not used.
    There are a few selected service providers that make out lavishly just contracting out on civic works. Anyone with a shred of understanding into real life would/should question what’s going on. The previous, experienced councils (note the plural) should have done it but comforting conformity prevented it from happening. Will it be better this time around? I highly doubt it.

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