‘Take your job seriously’

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Municipal governments have been formed and those of us that are optimistic about change have settled back into our lives. Participants (especially candidates) deserve our gratitude for their selflessness and the degree of vulnerability that inevitably goes with the political process.

The last thing I want to hear right now, even as one who felt unaffected by the results, is about conduct unbecoming to public officials. I have already been disappointed in this respect. Without going into details, I just want to remind new councillors that your words and actions are now under scrutiny and your value to the community is weighed by this measure. To start a term with even a hint of unprofessional behaviour sets a disastrous tone for the next four years.

The Alberta government has been revamping the Municipal Government Act and public input has indicated that codes of conduct for municipal officials should be mandatory (mgareview.alberta.ca). I hope this is finalized soon. If you feel campaigning with mudslinging was successful for you, this won’t hold true once you are in office. I don’t think it needs to be written that you should not be discussing (particularly by name) who you are going to fire or hire, who is to blame for problems, which programs you are going to cut, etc. In a small community your words will be noticed, repeated, and recorded. Public opinion can make it pretty uncomfortable for you, the elected official, unless you want to be tarred with the same brush as the epic failure south of the border.

Please take your job seriously and be accountable for your behaviour. It is stressful and destructive for a community to begin a new government term with resentment of new officials. You can be assured that you will be held accountable for what you say and do even in a level of government with relatively few checks. Charity Jardine Calling Lake, AB Athabasca, AB

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