When you know better, you do better.
That saying is so appropriate for so many things, including the new council taking charge of the municipality in December.
With a municipal election based on the idea of change, doing better for the taxpayers, and more open and transparent communication, it is hoped the lessons of the past four years will take root in the minds of council and administration.
The Freedom of Information request by local businessman John Cryderman is an excellent case in point. If administration, in its report to council, did actually complete a cost analysis of the three different options regarding merging fire and emergency medical services as they stated, that analysis with financials attached should already be done and sitting on someone’s computer.
That information should have been available to council to look at to help them evaluate the recommendation from staff. And that information – minus the financial details of Medavie as they are a third party – should be available to the public.
The fact the municipality, two years later, is still “searching” for the financial details and analysis requested in the FOI is a sad testament to the lack of transparency the municipality says they have.
If no analysis exists, just say so. Wasting their own time and money, as well as the IPC’s time and money, is a path the municipality just shouldn’t be travelling.
With a new council and new leadership with Mayor-Elect Darrin Canniff, there is hope the new normal will be to throw open the books to council without the need for FOI requests or sifting through an entire budget to find the financial breadcrumbs in a report.
Communicate with the taxpayers – let them know your thoughts, concerns and issues with matters that are important, including real costs. If you do that, while they might not always agree with the final outcome, they will appreciate being part of the discussion.