Response to Newspaper Editorial on Council Size

The June 2 (2011) edition of the Canadian Gazette carried an editorial endorsing Mayor John Levi's proposal to reduce Council to seven members. The editorial made too much of new councillors' unfamiliarity with procedures and policies, and it undervalued the contribution of new councillors. I wrote a response to the paper. In case you missed it, here it is.

Dear editor,

In response to your editorial "The incredible shrinking council," you were too quick to dismiss the relationship between a smaller Mississippi Mills Council and "fresh blood."

If Mayor Levi's 2-2-1 formula (two councillors each from Almonte and Ramsay, and one from Pakenham) had been in place at the last election, only one (me) of the four new councillors would have made it. Would Council have been better?

Duncan Abbott would not be on Council. His years as a real estate lawyer and teacher, and experience with union negotiations, have already proven valuable in Council work. Council would miss Paul Watters enthusiasm and dedication to recreation and community activities. We would be without the keen perception and lateral thinking that Bernard Cameron brings to the table.

The other winning councillors under the 2-2-1 proposal would have been four men in municipal politics since before amalgamation. Sure, they know "policy and procedural aspects" better, but we newcomers will catch up.

Mayor Levi's proposal does call for an elected deputy mayor who would also be our second rep on County Council. I support that part. I find Council's current policy of appointing the second rep undemocratic. I welcome the discussion on Council size and might support a different formula: 2-2-1 is too small.


Anonymous said...

I agree with leaving well enough alone.
We (Ramsay) entered amalgamation on the understanding of four councillor representation.
There is no way we should relinquish this number. remember, Ramsay tax payers bring over 42 cents of every tax dollar to the towns coffers. Reduce the number of our councillors? No, No, No.
This issue has been raised more than once with the same outcome. The proposal was tabled. So leave well enough alone.
To the Almonte Gazette. Don't turn into a partisan rag. Balanced reporting always. Give me the facts and I will form my own conclusions. I don't want you to think for me.