Why are you qualified to be Mayor?

While knocking on doors last week I was asked “why are you qualified to be mayor?”

To answer this question it is important to review the Community Charter which defines the responsibilities of a mayor. The Charter is available at: 

http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/03026_05

During the last couple of months there have been posts and comments on The Peak’s website and on their Facebook which indicate a lack of understanding of a mayor’s responsibilities.

First, and foremost, the mayor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the municipality. It is their responsibility to work closely with the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) in our case, Mac Fraser, to ensure an efficient, effective and responsive municipal government. Without a solid working relationship between the CAO and the mayor, this is not possible. 

I have been the Chief Executive Officer of both corporations and national and provincial not-for-profit organizations (i.e. The Canadian Genetic Diseases Network). In these roles I have demonstrated the ability to work with a diverse group of senior managers who have responsibility for both the technical and financial aspects of a corporation.  Further as a CEO, I have initiated major agreements both in Canada and Asia to enhance the effectiveness of these organizations.  In addition to being a CEO, I have also served as the Chairman of boards of both private and public organizations (i.e. Healthy Heart Society of British Columbia). One of the key tasks of a chairman is to be the direct link between the CEO and board and is responsible for the conducting the CEO’s annual appraisal.

The second area of responsibility for the mayor is multifaceted. It includes the following: 

  1. to provide leadership to the council including recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures; 
  2. to communicate information to the council; 
  3. to preside at council meetings; 
  4. to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers; 
  5. to establish standing committees; 
  6. to suspend municipal officers and employees; 
  7. to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council. 

As a CEO, Board Member, President of the South Armour Heights Rate Payers Association in Toronto and as a senior executive in the Federal government  I have significant experience in fulfilling all of these responsibilities. The mayor’s responsibility (defined in item 7 above) is very important as it requires the mayor, notwithstanding their own opinion, to reflect the will of council.  For example, if council votes in favour of a motion on which the mayor has voted against, the mayor is obligated to work with the municipal officers to insure that the council’s will is implemented.  

Throughout my career I have demonstrated the ability to work with a wide-range of individuals in order to achieve a common goal. This requires a willingness to listen and act on alternative points of view. This I have done and would do as Mayor of Powell River.  

Powell River is going through a period of growth, it has a strong real estate market and a shortage of housing options. One of the challenges for the Mayor is to ensure that all business owners, developers and builders have equal access to development opportunities. As I have no business interests in Powell River I will be able to do this without any real or perceived personal conflicts of interest.  

During the last 5 years many new residents have chosen to come to Powell River because it is a wonderful place to live. In addition to the legal responsibilities of a mayor outlined above, I believe the mayor should also engage and excite knowledgeable business and community leaders to donate time and expertise to help make Powell River an even better place to live.   With over 40 years of experience as a volunteer I know  first hand the importance of volunteerism in making a community healthy and a better place to live. 

Below is a video about my leadership skills when I received the Ottawa Life Sciences Council Innovative Manager Award. We were the first company to establish ourselves in the Ottawa Life Sciences Park. Toi Kinnor Inc. used software programs to help physicians make better use of ultrasound images for the care of their patients.

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