July 24th, 2024

Letter: Not too late to properly serve the city, even if it’s only for the remainder of the term

By Letter to the Editor on June 25, 2024.

Dear editor,

The responses to the short article by Ann Mitchell, CAO for Medicine Hat, attests to what appears to be the problem at city hall. Mayor Linnsie Clark and Ann Mitchell are at loggerheads. This unresolved issue has polarized council and understandably extends into the public as well.

Mitchell wrote in the News (June 6, 2024) about municipal governance, which was sourced from the Alberta Municipal Governance Act and the local Code of Conduct. It is neither an opinion, nor a critique. Also, her training and experience in municipal affairs make her probably more knowledgeable about municipal governance than most members of our current council.

George Cuff, a consultant in municipal affairs, presented a municipal governance model which has many similarities to our provincial and federal governments. He elaborated on the roles of council, the mayor (the chief elected official) and the city manager/administrator (the chief appointed official). He cited numerous real experiences to better clarify his points.

City council approved this presentation. It is assumed that council seeks a different operating system so that changes can be considered for the current problem(s). Cuff’s presentation should have occurred immediately after the last election so that the councilors, the mayor and the CAO would have had a clearer understanding of their duties/responsibilities.

Then council could have chosen a working model for the city. Unfortunately it may be too late in this term to implement the necessary changes, but even a commitment to work more harmoniously in the interest of the city would be an improvement.

The unresolved sanctions against the mayor and the pending judicial review of these sanctions still hang over council. The sanctions are harsh, and evidently they have not effected the intended change, especially with the mayor.

The mayor has applied to the court to review the reasonableness of these sanctions. Whatever the decision, will Medicine Hat be better served, or will that only happen when the electorate makes its choices in the next municipal election?

Larry Samcoe

Medicine Hat

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