Morinville has made great strides over the past two years in communicating more effectively with our residents. Social media posts, informative videos, and a monthly snapshot newsletter are among them.
Communication has been a top priority for me through two council terms and will continue to top my list over the next four.
Transparency dictates that residents must always be kept informed even when there is no movement on an item – like gravel on our main highway.
Transparency and accessibility to Council are issues I heard regularly during the term and certainly during this election.
I have always made myself available to residents. I have done so online, by email, in person, in restaurants while having dinner, and at the edge of driveways talking about drainage issues.
All of those things are a part of the job, a big part of the job of a councillor.
If you look at my testimonial page, you will see testimonials that speak of my communication skill of keeping people informed, closing the loop on resident concerns, and doing my best to inform residents of decisions and what is coming up.
This council has taken a lot of heat from one local media source about closed sessions. I did a comparison between Morinville, Sturgeon County and Gibbons. All three had similar time allotments given to closed sessions where matters that cannot yet be discussed publicly are public.
Where media had a legitimate beef is with the two standing items – CAO Dialogue and Council Dialogue that was added by the agenda review committee. I have expressed concern about the optics of this catch-all standing item, and when we got around to finishing our procedural bylaw late in the term, I was able to get both removed in a unanimous vote. Now, any member of Council can add a closed session item at the start of the meeting by vote if it is an emergent issue, or at the end of a meeting by vote, if there was something that occurred in the meeting in terms of conduct that needs an HR discussion.
Transparency also means answering media questions in a timely fashion. I am but one of two councillors who consistently answered one media’s questions after others decided to stop.
These questions often took considerable time to dig back in notes, look up budget documents, or communicate with Town staff for a deeper dive to ensure my facts were correct.
I’ve done so because I believe I must respond even when I’m not too fond of the tone of the question or how the answers or portions thereof will be published.
Answering media is part of communicating and something I will continue to do as part of my goal to keep you informed.