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Meetings are mayor’s main job

We’re missing something. Something 50 pages long. Bylaw 44M2006.

We’re missing something. Something 50 pages long. Bylaw 44M2006.

The candidates better understand it. It’s the bylaw on proceedings of council and its committees. A meeting expert? No kidding. That’s the soul of the mayoral job description.

So why is no one asking the mayoral candidates about board experience? That’s where decision making lies. Meetings ins and outs are complicated and tedious.

The job description is found in the Alberta Municipal Act. It’s unglamorous; the mayor has no veto power over anything.

A few key points:

• The mayor must chair the council meetings unless there’s a bylaw that someone else does it.

• The mayor performs other duties enacted by bylaws — now that’s exciting!

• The mayor is a member of all council committees and all those councils where there is a city appointee.

There’s criticism that our people aren’t engaged in city politics. Yet, we can’t even come up with a decent job description for the mayor. Voting turnout (30 per cent last election) is even lower for the youngest voters.

I asked a number of young human resource types — local certified human resources professionals — to weigh in on the Calgary mayor’s job description.

Marnie Ortis, 25, is looking for vision. “It seems the (mayor’s) only duties are to attend council meetings. There’s no mention of outcomes, expectations or budgetary responsibility.” Calgary is a dynamic city, she notes, and if you want to attract the millennials, catch their attention with energy and clear goals, and achievements.

Nichole Hochberger, 36, is looking for values in the job description. “There needs to be verbiage around environment. The mayor needs to walk the walk and talk the talk, to use a cliché.”

Stephanie Andrews, 29, rewrote the job description, and made it way more lively. “The mayoral race isn’t a popularity contest; it’s about choosing the best person to make a positive difference in the city from the inside out.”

Our savvy voters are looking for passion, competence, and clear outcomes.

And voters need to ask:

How do we know if our mayor is doing a good job?

Now is the time to write it down.

As the leader of committees, the mayor will know good meeting minutes record what was done not said.

 
 
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