Councillor Exit Interview Question #5
What advice would you give to the incoming council?
You have been given the honour of being elected by a large group of fellow citizens all over this city, to represent and make important decisions based on what is best for whole community of Revelstoke in the long term. If you keep that in mind you will find it difficult to go wrong.
Here is what I would say to the incoming Council, as this is what I learned:
– leave any biases or preconceived notions you have and come to the Council table with one agenda: what is in the best interests of the Community as a whole;
– listen; listen to the community, your fellow Councillors and staff; never think you are the smartest person in the room, as that prevents you from listening and makes you inflexible to other ideas and perspectives;
– be prepared to learn; this job will teach you far more than you will teach it;
– do your homework, do your reading and ask your questions; you owe it to the community and your fellow Councillors, as you can only debate ideas and make decisions at Council when you know what you are talking about; – be brave; it is a small town and sometimes you have to make decisions that will disappoint people who may also be your friends and family;
– do not be afraid to speak your mind, but always be respectful to your fellow Councillors, staff and the Community; after even spirited debate and decisions that you may have voted against, be prepared to accept the will of Council, and move on; do not hold grudges, the term is long, you need to continue to work with everyone and get things done.
Do your homework! Read the staff reports, understand the issue on the table or ask
questions until you feel confident to make an informed decision.
I would emphasize there is no shortage of good ideas; the challenge is how you accomplish them. How do you deal in the framework to be most effective at that? How do you best partner with all the stakeholders, from residents to the many local groups to federal and provincial and regional partners to see your goals through? That is an increasingly complex endeavour. It requires a balance.
Teamwork and how the councillors can they be most effective working with each other, staff and community to set priorities, strategic plans and execute them all. There have been Councils across the province where wheels come off and they are not effective. It is always a risk, so take on the responsibility with your thinking cap on and think strategically as to what you can achieve most, and hopefully your goals align with the communities goals. Change is often slow and the challenges we are dealing with are often brought upon us by external factors beyond our control. It can be a long term struggle to achieve the best results.