The key to improving communities like ours is in having leaders that do the right work, and don’t settle for the illusion of just doing things. Our village councillors seem unsure of what their right work actually is.
At their most recent public meeting, I watched our councillors decide that part of their work was to prohibit our village office staff from continuing to assist local non-profit societies with their grants and funding processes. The decision is to take effect July 1. The grants are the lifeblood of these valuable non-profit organizations.
This council action will cost them a great deal of money and time, and could force them to significantly reduce the services they provide. This decision disrespects and devalues the amazing contribution that these organizations make in our community.
The council’s motion was based on a recommendation in a recent auditor’s report. Making the change was optional, not a requirement. There was nothing wrong with the established practice of the village office. We need to know what motivated council’s decision.
It was eye opening to watch our councillors talk about improving our community’s services, and then do an about face and make the decision they did. Prior to the vote, our mayor and our village chief administrative officer made it very clear to them that their motion was the wrong thing to do. They were shown that their motion was inappropriate and unnecessary, and that its outcome would be harmful. They ignored this advice. Debate was minimal, the vote was quick, and the damage was done.
We shouldn’t be surprised by our councillors’ reluctance to work collaboratively with the mayor and village staff or to take their advice. Unfortunately it’s not unusual. Among other issues, these are the folks that denied our mayor his village role with the regional district, and refused to take him seriously when he advised them to take action regarding the crisis at our local CNC campus.
This unhelpful decision by council can be rescinded. Attend a public meeting and help our councillors learn what their work really is. It won’t be easy, but with enough of us there to supervise they just may figure it out.