Along with 30 other B.C. mayors and regional district board chairs, I participated in a training workshop delivered by the Local Government Leadership Academy to “enhance organizational and governance effectiveness” and to “explore best practices for meetings, strategic priority and political/administrative relations.” Sessions included in-depth discussions of the roles of councils in:
• Making policy through decisions which fall within our delegated powers.
• Setting direction by determining strategies to be pursued and services to deliver.
• Representing the public interest by reflecting the broad interests of the
This third item is likely of the most interest to the citizens so I will provide a bit more background on the specific responsibilities:
• Responding to inquiries by listening and conveying citizen concerns to staff without getting too involved in the day-to-day operations.
• Advocating constituent concerns by speaking on behalf of a specific citizen, group or community interests or concerns to the rest of council.
• Monitoring operations to ensure they are effective and efficient.
• Ensuring transparency by adhering to high ethical and accountable standards that are open to public scrutiny.
Mayors have the same responsibilities, but also act as chairs, facilitators, spokespeople, intermediaries and mentors. I think it goes without saying that most of us don’t come into the jobs with highly developed skill sets in all areas and will experience some growing pains!
The workshop provided opportunities for sharing experiences and assisting each other with possible actions towards solutions of identified issues. As a new mayor, I was exposed to a wide variety of leaders from all over B.C., from a range of community sizes and types as well as experience levels, from first-time elected to office to having been an elected official for 40 years. Overall, a good learning experience, and I plan to incorporate some of the information into my work in the coming months.
Meantime, back in Radium, thanks to volunteers, staff and sponsors who made Radium Day a hugely successful event. Our visitors with the Brits Best had a wonderful event and look forward to coming again next year — some had never been to our valley before and plan to spend more time next year. Another example of how valuable our events teams are as a part of overall tourism and economic development strategies.
Clara Reinhardt is the mayor of the Village of Radium Hot Springs and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley.