DOI mayor answers ‘quarterback’

There is sometimes confusion among some people about the different roles between local government elected officials and senior managers.

RE:  “Candidates get advice from armchair quarterback,” November 9

There is sometimes confusion among some people about the different roles between local government elected officials and senior managers. Mr. Turnbull’s recent letter, reminded of the importance of explaining that elected officials set the policy, the strategic direction, and set the budget/tax rates, while senior management implements the decisions of the elected officials, manages the day to day operations of the government, and when required provides advice to councils and boards. Ultimately the decisions and responsibilities are with the elected officials, which is why they are elected and not senior management.

During my nine years on District of Invermere council, I have been very involved — listening to locals and visitors on a daily basis (not to mention the many emails and phone calls), and over the years I have learned a lot from attending countless Rotary and other community group meetings.  Over this time, I haven’t passed the tough decisions over land use or strategic direction over to staff — but I have relied on them to implement council’s decisions, and provide information and advice about the day to day operations of Invermere.

I’m not sure if I can take credit for the worldwide economic situation, or even the condition of the regional real estate market — but I will take part of the credit for fighting for government services and helping to get the Invermere Emergency Room developed, the helipad re-opened, municipal debt decreased, reserves increased, an integrated pathway network completed, historical building saved, library funding increased — while still making sure we funded pretty flowers downtown and attempted to keep taxes reasonable (which as a Windermere resident Mr. Turnbull doesn’t pay).  And yes, I will even take credit for voting for those controversial solar garbage cans which did a great job this summer of compacting garbage and keeping it from overflowing on the street and decreased the frequency and costs of emptying the garbage.

I make no apologies for pushing for Invermere to complete an Integrated Sustainability Plan, and if re-elected I will push for the implementation of this plan, which I believe will offer the realistic incremental steps that will lead us to real results in economic diversification while maintaining our environment.

Gerry Taft

Mayor, District of Invermere