By Lethbridge Herald on November 28, 2018.
One of my quirks is I hate surprises. I mean I really hate surprises. So you can imagine my dismay when I picked up Friday’s paper and saw the headline “Full-time councillor talk resurfaces at deliberations.” They have passed proposals for creating four or more full-time positions.
It’s a surprise because almost two years to the day, November 2016, a citizen assembly wrote a report that found that council pay was adequate, that there was no need for full-time councillors, and that the issue should be put on the back burner for 15 years or the population reaches 150,000 people, whichever comes first. It’s only been two years and the population is nowhere near 150,000 people, so I don’t know what the rush is.
Council were the ones who decided to form the citizens’ assembly. To turn around and ignore its recommendations is an insult to not only to the hard work of the members of the assembly but to the community they were supposed to represent. It also does not bode well for the planned citizens’ assembly to look at the implementation of the ward system. Why would I or anyone else agree to participate when council will just ignore what you’ve found if they don’t like it?
If council firmly believes that this is the correct course of action, they need to make their case clearly to the citizens of Lethbridge. Not hide it in a flood of proposals during Finance Committee. They need to state why they need to be full-time. What the advantages are and what the disadvantages are. They need to take this information to the people they claim to represent. Then, because this seriously impacts the way we are all governed, there needs to be a binding referendum since some can’t seem to take no for an answer.
If they do this, then I may actually get a surprise I like and they may find out why I hate surprises.