Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Council to consider possibility of creating Communications Director position for 2015

Getting the City's message out it seems will be a priority for new Mayor Lee Brain and his Council.

And towards that theme, the Mayor has asked that City Staff prepare a report to explore the cost to the City of hiring a Communications Director and creating a Communications Department, all to better to share the word with the public when it comes to the city's work.

Mayor Lee Brain introduced the topic at the end of Monday's City Council session, outlining his thoughts on the theme, highlighting how those on Council learned from the election campaign that the City needs to do a better job of communicating its information to the public.

The Mayor reviewed for Council how he believes that it's important for the City to have someone around who can help the Council communicate those issues to the community.

Once staff has prepared its report, the Mayor would like Council to look at the issue further in the New Year.

Councillor Thorkelson while suggesting that such an initiative is a good thing to review, observed that it might be better worked into the overall Budget process, highlighting how Council needs to consider how they fund all of its functions. Making note that Council needs to have everything that it wants on such kinds of a wish list included in those discussions.

Councillor Cunningham echoed that cautionary note, suggesting that the City should not be counting its chickens before they have hatched, as the City can't project what kind of revenues it will be getting and while he liked the idea of a wish list, he was hesitant to count on user fees before they have them in hand.

The Mayor noted that he was also in favour of putting everything on the table, and that the proposal for a Communication Officer like that of the Environmental Officer Position that the City was considering, should be reviewed further as to what the cost may be.

Councillor Mirau echoed his support for the Mayor's suggestion of a Communication Officer, but agreed with the rest of Council that it required a proper review as to cost.

With the topic of the Environmental Officer introduced, Councillor Cunningham took advantage of that opportunity to ask the Mayor as to the status of the report on that position, he was advised that Staff was preparing the report for Council's review.

From that Council voted in favour of the motion to have Staff provide a report on the proposed Communication Officer position.

Considering the many issues reviewed by the City through 2014, items such as infrastructure concerns, the transportation issues related to the Airport, the ongoing costs both legal and in maintenance of the Watson Island site and a range of other expensive issues to deal with, one might  wonder if Council will be able to address the prospect of a new position at this time.

As both Councillor's Cunningham and Thorkelson observed in their comments, wish list items may  be best examined only when the City has the financial means to see them move forward, which in the case of any Communications position may mean a deferral, at least until better economic times for the City allow for the luxury adding to the municipal staffing levels.

The full discussion can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive starting at the 1 hour thirteen minute mark and carrying through to the end of the Council session.

A full review of Monday's City Council session can be found on our Timeline feature.

For more items related to City Council discussions see our Archive page here.

No comments:

Post a Comment