Interviews: Q&A with Ward 3 Councillor Candidates: Managing electors’ expectations vs requirements of the position

Question 1b.: How do you see yourself managing/meeting electors’ expectations versus the demands in the legally mandated policy-making and stewardship requirements of the positions?

Candidate Responses:
Clifford Atfield: I will be available 24 hours a day for residents to address any concerns and to deal with them. When issues come up I will look at all the facts and use common sense to come out with the best results.
John Bell: Firstly, it’s important that Councillors become fully aware of and conversant with applicable Policies, Laws and Regulations (from whatever level of Government).
Secondly, there needs to be a common sense, logical, rational and fact based basis for developing plans and addressing issues that arise.
Thirdly, your elected Council needs to vigorously, but legitimately, represent the best interests of the community and should be seen to be doing so. As a taxpayer and resident I want my Council to fight on my behalf. I understand that the Council cannot win every battle but my sense is that there has been some lack of vigorous and persistent challenge e.g. with OMB [LPAT].
John Peirce: Since initially elected in 2014 I have ensured that I am available not just to my own voters in Ward 3, but constituents across the County, answering questions and helping present their concerns to the right forums. When campaigning I hear from the voters that they expect both tactical and strategic decisions from their representatives, which I have both supported and led in Council and in Committees. Most notable is our Asset Management solvency which, when I was first elected, was millions below the Provincial mandated amount. I was the leading voice in recognizing this risk and prioritizing annual targets to achieve this goal by 2018, ensuring the County has accessible funds for unplanned activities which otherwise would require loans or an increase of taxes. My experience helped prioritize a significant exposure to the County’s future solvency, and though the purpose of the funds are misunderstood to be available, its sole purpose is to protect the County from unexpected infrastructure costs. There is clearly a need across the County for a strategic communication shift to both engage and educate the community through open coffee chats, Ward and County-wide town halls and improved engagement with County staff. I believe my constituents are aware and comfortable with my proven track records of engagement and action, and I will continue to be the strong voice they elected in 2014
Myles Rusak: The expectations are not all that dissimilar to my current career as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters. For over 15 years now I have worked in the non-profit industry which in most instances has the purpose of
serving marginalized demographics and key stakeholders in the community. I have been able, throughout my career, to identify key priorities, work with these stakeholders and create detailed strategic plans which outline milestones and goals along the way. This is a practice which I would like to implement in the County.
If we could identify time-points and milestones of what we as a County would like to accomplish over the next 4, 10, & 20 years + then we will have a better idea of how to plan for it, what resources we will require (financial and human) and create the best plan to move forward. This process would be done with the community providing their insight at the beginning and would be a living document to help us best understand the community goals.
Milestones within the strategic plan will then be communicated back to the Community in a public forum so that everyone is aware of where we are and what we are working towards. This is how we keep our stakeholders apprised of our work in the NPO industry and I feel a strong way for us to keep citizens engaged throughout the municipality.
Edith Stone: Response not yet received.
Marty Verhey: I believe communication is key! I think we can do a better job of this today in the County. I am committed to being available to constituents and I am very willing to listen. I have experience in working with County Staff and would bring issues to either Staff or Council depending on the issue. I believe this is the responsibility of a Councillor and in order to maintain and build integrity, it is crucial that I show a demonstrated effort in working for the constituents!

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