The region of Queens mayor and councillors has recently finished its first year of four in elected office.
How did they do?
This is an opinion by one who takes in about every council meeting
So from the media at council chambers here’s how I saw the first year.
I thought the first year went well in fact very well. With the exception of a few meetings this collective enjoyed a very good year.
They passed some good things such as a skateboard park and a Fire Hall and held back on an ATV trail.
I can’t remember one unpleasant exchange and decorum was kept throughout the public sessions.
The sessions took place in three locations, at council chambers, at Queens Place when they were renovating the chambers and at the Fire Hall for one occasion.
That meeting they approved money for a ladder truck, a good civic moment.
There’s one mayor and seven councillors which is down from the previous council. Also no less than seven members for various reasons did not return from the previous council.
They include Sheldon Brannen and Randi Dickie who decide not to return. Mayor John Leefe who retired after 12 years as an acclaimed mayor and Doug Adams who also retired
Mervin Hartlen, Owen Hamlin who vied for the Mayor’s chair and John Croft who did not get re-elected, That’s a lot of people not returning.
Mayor Chris Clarke won the Mayor’s race and has done a good job in the chair.
The Bowaters business approach works well in his case and the meetings under his leadership are very efficient.
Mayor Chris Clarke and Fred Lohnes at council chambers
The new councillors include Brian Fralic, Jack Fancy, and Raymond Fiske. The returned councillors include Bruce Inglis, Darlene Norman and the only acclaimed councillor Caledonia’s Peter Waterman.
Susan McLeod a Councillor from the past also got re-elected in a very close vote.
First of all there are no bad councillors. I think everyone there is doing a decent job the problem comes when they express themselves some do it better than others
I realize council does a lot of listening but they are the only ones that can ask questions at the council sessions, the public can’t nor the media. So their input and thoughts on matters is vital and on their opinions should not be kept to themselves.
Asking questions or making comments is the only way the media and public can gauge a councillors effectiveness and in that light some do so better than others.
There are no bad or incompetent councillors but there are some who don’t ask many questions so it is hard to judge them in this context. ”Silence is golden” may be a rock n roll song from the early 70′s (The Tremelos) but it is not good in municipal politics. If one does not speak up it is hard to be judged or know where one stands on an item.
There are three tiers of councillors from very engaged, to medium to too silent, here is my breakdown
Tier 1: Darlene Norman, Susan MacLeod, Brian Fralic and Bruce Inglis:
In that order I find them engaging, inquisitive, curious and diligent.
From my first council meeting in 2008 I have found that Darlene Norman asks the most questions, queries at just about every meeting.
I like questions being asked because as the local media we gain more information on just about any subject when that happens. The impression that comes across is, Darlene Norman, now in her 13th straight year on council is very well prepared for every meeting.
I never thought Darlene Norman could be out questioned and there are times that this happens with Susan MacLeod. A year ago the Pulse asked her what she would do this time around, having lost an election campaign in 2008. “”I will question things and ask more questions,” is what she told the Pulse.
Sue Macleod and Heather Cook
After her first year of her comeback she has certainly done that and good for her.
Of the three new councillors who came into council (Fralic, Fiske and Fancy) Brian Fralic leads the new guys by a long shot. He never looked like a neophyte even at the beginning. He has done a great job maybe even a herculean effort for a first year councillor.
Maybe its the years of handling Privateer Days in which he does a phenomenal job or experience in speaking before groups, he has conducted himself as a veteran.
Straight forward, expressing his opinion and a few times in a minority position, his first year has been |much better than expected’. The biggest surprise of all councillors and I rate him near the top of the heap and even, maybe a future mayoral candidate. Good for you Mr. Fralic.
Bruce, is Bruce.
He really doesn’t say that much but does say enough to get his points across. Now that the provincial aspirations have gone there even be more of a focus on municipal matters, although in fairness I never saw a drop off in his time campaigning. Let’s not forget these are part-time councillors.
Those are the top four.
The only person in the tier two is Jack Fancy.
Fancy really improved in the second half of the year.
Jack like many who come to council had to learn the rules and regulations of meeting and procedure. He did and in the second half became much more engaging and made several good points at times. Continue the progress sir.
This does in no way mean these people are not good councillors it’s just that they have spoken so little in the first term that it is hard to rate them.
The councillor from Caledonia has now been representing that region for 13 years. He is the only councillor who was acclaimed in the last vote. Peter certainly speak on Caledonia but not much else. I wish he would do so..
Raymond may very well be the best listener on council. He’s professional, business like and listens to all discussions. But we hear from him the least of all.
I would like to know where he stands on issues more. Is he for things or against them, most of the times I really don’t know.
I don’t expect him to be as vocal as councillors Norman or MacLeod but it would be nice if he expressed himself more.
That concludes the elected individuals who are running the show.
Later this week the Pulse has certain suggestions or recommendations for council; one is a forum for councillors to bring up items or concerns. Right now the agenda is rigidly set, there should be a portions where councillors should or could say what is on their minds.
But, looking back over the first year, it has been a good one for the mayor and councillors is Queens County.