January 23rd, 2017

Mayor lauds council in State of the City address


By Collin Gallant on January 11, 2017.

The present Medicine Hat City Council is shown in this undated photo. Mayor Ted Clugston heaped praise on his fellow council members during the annual State of the City address. Clugston also announced his bid for re-election at the annual luncheon. --Photo Courtesy City of Medicine Hat.

Medicine Hat News

Ted Clugston used a high-profile appearance to announce he’ll wage a re-election campaign, but the annual event may as well have doubled as a slate endorsement of current councillors.

“I’ve been clear that I’ve enjoyed working with this council,” he told reporters after a lengthy speech at the Medicine Hat Lodge on Tuesday.

The State of the City speech was laced with construction, budget initiatives and boosterism for Medicine Hat.

At length he spoke about the strong working relationships and “courage” of the eight other members of council.

“On previous council’s there were fractures and alliances that I didn’t think was healthy. I would like to work with this council again.”

The crowd at the Medicine Hat Lodge ballroom heard the current council “was the best, most professional group I’ve worked with.”

He said that after a large capital construction program in the city over the past few years he saw the near future as a time to cement new budget planning strategies, build up reserve funds and “put a steady hand on the tiller” of the city’s ship.

The event also included video clips of eight other members of council discussing their thoughts on accomplishments of the past three years.

A berm program, Canalta Centre and Family Leisure Centre construction, airport terminal and fire station were listed as well as a new oil-drilling program, reserve policies and processes.

Coun. Bill Cocks said the content of the speech was not surprising, nor was the announcement Clugston will seek another term.

“Ted Clugston has always been very generous sharing credit with his council,” said Cocks.

“I rather expected it (the re-election bid), not that I had inside knowledge, but if I was a betting man, I’d say that’s where he would land.”

Coun. Les Pearson agreed on both counts.

“An astute observer of politics would say it’s entirely predictable,” said Pearson. “He’s justly proud of the things he and his council have accomplished, and that’s probably the best record going into an election that anyone could have.”

The speech ran over capital building projects, aspects of the Financially Fit budget review and the advantages that exist in Medicine Hat.

“We’re still here … I’m optimistic, even bullish on Medicine Hat,” Clugston said.

Coun. Brian Varga said such speeches usually run through the year that was and accomplishments at city hall.

“The biggest part is the type of team that we are,” said Varga.

Coun. Jim Turner was in attendance and said the group, including Couns. Robert Dumanowski, Julie Friesen, Jamie McIntosh and Celina Symmonds, had good working chemistry.

“I wouldn’t say (the speech was an election) endorsement, but we do work pretty well together,” said Turner. “This council is there to work for what’s best for the citizens of Medicine Hat. We disagree, have debate but still be friends.”

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