An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KAMLOOPS CITY COUNCIL held a team-building exercise on Tuesday. A facilitator was there to help. CAO David Trawin was there. Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson wasn’t.
According to Deputy Mayor Dale Bass, the meeting was about working together, council’s community involvement and strategic planning — all of it the kind of stuff the new council needs to noodle about.
So how can it be done without the mayor being in the room? There are different versions of why he wasn’t.
Bass tells me the meeting was in the council calendar as far back as Oct. 17.
“He returned from his vacation last week. Council at the workshop yesterday authorized me to, if asked, confirm he was absent and that he is back but we do not know where he is or what he is doing.”
But it turns out Hamer-Jackson was delayed getting back from Mexico. When I caught up to him last night, he was sitting in the Calgary airport.
Even if he’d been in town, though, he says he wouldn’t have attended, because he feels the mayor should be the one to lead council team building, not CAO David Trawin, who scheduled and attended the meeting.
“I don’t need to be facilitated by someone the CAO has ordered up.”
The mayor questions paying to bring in a facilitator. “I’m supposed to be the one having team-building meetings for mayor and council.”
He did, he says, make it known through his office that he wouldn’t attend so it shouldn’t have been a surprise.
(Coun. Bill Sarai, vacationing in India, also missed the meeting, and had let them know.)
Councillors are putting up an enthusiastic front talking about how they’ve coalesced as a team but it’s a tough sell.
Hamer-Jackson returns to City Hall today and intends to start one-on-one meetings with councillors. He has his work cut out finding common ground — City council’s team-building aspirations, and its communications, remain in need of some serious fine tuning.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.