Municipal elections are coming up on Nov. 19 of this year. There was some discussion about this during last Tuesday’s District of Clearwater council meeting and councilor Stephanie Teare suggested that it might be helpful if the council members let the public know who plans to run and who does not.
“That way they’ll know how many seats are available,” she said.
Councilor Candus Graffunder gently corrected Teare.
“In November there will be seven council seats available,” she said.
Graffunder made a good point. Although being an incumbent usually carries an advantage in an election, there is no reason why the entire present council couldn’t be forced out of office during next fall’s municipal elections (not that we are suggesting that would be a good idea).
However, we do suggest that, on general principle, it would be good to get some new blood with fresh perspectives on council.
Six of the seven council members: Mayor John Harwood, Brent Buck, Christy Dobi, Ken Kjenstad, Candus Graffunder and Stephanie Teare, have been there since District of Clearwater was formed in December of 2007. The only exception is Bert Walker, who in the 2008 municipal elections won the seat vacated by Jack Braaksma.
The council members bring a great diversity of experiences, talents and abilities to the table with them. They work well together, possibly too well.
If there is a criticism to be made of the present council, it is that there appears to be too much of an emphasis on group unity. There seems to be a reluctance to voice a contrary opinion or to closely question other council members or members of staff. Possibly the picture is different behind closed doors during in camera meetings, but we doubt it is significantly so.
Municipal (and school board) elections are held in British Columbia every three years on the third Saturday in November. We encourage all civic-minded individuals to consider running.