When you log into the city’s website, you are presented with a plethora of information. You can find out about Agencies and Boards, the City Auditor and even our Poet Laureate, Roland Pemberton.
Though you can find out how to get a business license and what the city is doing on environmental issues, there is precious little information about what our councillors are up to when it comes to spending our money.
Each councillor has a web page on the site that lists the initiatives they are involved in and some biographical information. A look at Don Iveson’s page lists the boards he serves on as well as the name of his wife and dog. Why someone would want to know that is anybody’s guess. Jane Batty’s page contains much the same kind of information, except for the wife and dog thing.
A quick look at the other councillor’s pages show they are all more or less the same. One thing that surprised me was that only the mayor has an electronic newsletter you can sign up for. An electronic newsletter is cheap like borscht to produce so it puzzles me why councillors would not want to keep in touch with voters that way. They have a budget that would cover any costs incurred in doing so. Such newsletters just might improve civic engagement.
It is good to know what committees and boards councillors are involved in and what their backgrounds are. It might even be good to know the name of their spouse and dog. But what would be even better would be an easy way of determining just what exactly they voted for and against during the course of their terms in office.
What I would suggest is that the voting record of each councillor and the mayor be posted on the city’s site every time there is a vote. Unless you have no life, it’s unlikely you would want to watch an entire council meeting so a box score of that type would make keeping up with who’s voting for what much easier.
Those voting records should be archived for the councillor’s term of office. If that information were readily available come election time, it would make it much easier to decide who you wanted to vote for and who you think did not represent your wishes or that of your community.