So, we have a new council, one that features eight rookies and a couple of familiar faces in new or returned positions.
They were officially sworn in Monday night.
And now they are the governing body that is charged with holding the most control over our everyday lives.
To that extent, we challenge the new council to go against tradition. For stress purposes, people are urged to not sweat the small stuff. But for a municipal councillor, that is exactly what you are voted into office to do.
Sweat about the construction on Riverview Drive. Perspire over the uneven railway crossings throughout Chatham-Kent. Positively glow over concerns on how our tax dollars are spent.
It’s the job of councillors to sweat that small stuff. Not the minutiae, but the small stuff. The mayor’s chair gets the bigger issues, but ward councillors are the ones who should be fielding calls from local ratepayers on everything from potholes to splash pads, public safety to public transit.
No issue is beneath you, if it is a municipally controlled matter.
That can obviously be frustrating at times, especially when repeatedly dealing with some of the squeakier wheels in Chatham-Kent.
Think of them as the child who repeatedly says, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom…” in an effort to get your attention. It can be annoying, but you should never ignore your own children.
Proverbially rolling up one’s sleeves and tackling the small issues may not garner the mass attention of landing a large company for C-K, but such efforts earn respect in small increments that add up over time.
Getting a reputation as an accessible and hard-working council member is a sure fire way to get re-elected.
Another way to score points with the electorate is to think on your own. Just because administration recommends one course of action, is not necessarily reason to support it. You are elected to represent the interests of the people of Chatham-Kent. The public is your boss, and you in turn are the overseers of administration. Sometimes, some civil servants can see things the other way around.
Represent us. Work hard for us. Think on your own. Ask questions when not provided enough information. Help make Chatham-Kent a better place.