Monday, May 27, 2013

New arrivals and pending departures all part of City Hall theme tonight

Tonight's City Council session provides a variety of themes for Rupertites to watch for, as the City gets set to enter a new era of Administration.

Taking up his duties this evening will be the City Manager, Robert Long, who has been on the job since May 15th, tonight marks the first Council meeting under his watch.

One of the first items of the night would seem to be the announcement of a replacement for the recently departed City Financial Officer Dan Rodin, who left the City on the same day that Mr. Long arrived. 

From Council's agenda for this evening, we learn that Ms. Corrine Bomben will be getting the move upwards on the city's staffing roster,  set to take on the duties (if approved by Council tonight) as the Acting Financial Officer.

As Ms. Bomben moves up, the City Administrator appears set to move on, as Robert Grodecki will be leaving that post shortly, we're not sure of the timeline on that planned departure, but the search for his replacement is already on.

And while the upper ranks of civic administration continue with what now appears to be a fairly major overhaul, we still have yet to learn the intentions of the newly elected MLA for the North Coast, Councillor Jennifer Rice.

The Councillor who won her bid for provincial office on May 14th, hasn't offered up much in the way of what she plans to do regarding her current seat on City council.

She has provided some feedback to both the Northern View and the QCI Observer as to her thoughts on her success at the provincial level and what she may be taking on when in Victoria.

But her plans for her council seat, and where we go from here, is a topic that is still in development it would appear, her current thinking being that she will remain on Council for the time being.

Not that she hasn't been offered up some timely advice from the local media.

The Northern View had two editorials in last weeks opinion pages, offering the new MLA some guidance.

And if that's not helpful towards her planning, there are some interesting thoughts from other new MLA's, who like Ms. Rice also hold municipal office.

Some points to ponder that might give her some research material for the decision ahead.

As we outlined earlier this month on the blog, The Councillor has much in the way of company when it comes to making a decision on what to do about the twin positions of municipal and provincial office.

Among the more notable of thoughts from those in the same situation.

Mayor Dan Ashton of  Penticton who has reportedly offered to cover the cost of the byelection required for his departure from civic office, the newly elected Liberal MLA has said he would be willing to pay for the cost of a byelection, something which could set him back some 35,000 dollars.

It was an offer that Langley's Mayor Peter Fassbender wasn't particularly thrilled to hear about, suggesting that the Mayor of Penticton wasn't doing any favours for the remainder of the elected of the migrating municipals.

Fassbender intends to step down from Municipal office, but doesn't seem inclined to cover the cost of the by-election process. 

In Delta,  Scott Hamilton faces a similar decision as Ms. Rice, though he would seem to be leaning towards staying on as a councillor if possible, as he puts it to save the community the cost of an election.

However, he does state that he would not be taking on two salaries should he decide to stay as a member of Delta Council, providing perhaps what may be the best guiding statement for anyone in a similar quandary.

In his comments to the Delta Optimist Hamilton stressed that "he wouldn't take both salaries if he remained in both jobs, saying he'd happily give one to charity", adding "that would be the ultimated in double-dipping and I wouldn't do that"

That could provide a variation of Councillor Thorkelson's recent thoughts on how the City needs to "work smarter".

Whatever decision Ms. Rice may make, the need to declare her long term intentions has arrived. 

There's much work ahead for her on the provincial level and as we learned through the emotional budget discussions many challenges for the City moving ahead.

In her recent media interviews both in Prince Rupert and on Haida Gwaii she seems clear as to her ambitions for and the challenge ahead with her new duties with the NDP, which perhaps should suggest she may wish to concentrate on those looming tasks.

With all the introductions and farewells of the last few weeks it seems like a timely moment for an announcement. 

And while it's not on the Agenda for tonight's council meeting, tonight's session may provide the perfect venue for Councillor/MLA elect Rice to declare her intentions, providing some closure to a topic that has dogged her and City Council since she secured the NDP nomination in January

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