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Municipal Council Report Card 1% Gives An “A”

Municipal elections are being held across the province of Ontario on October 25, 2010. In this election you will be voting for the offices of Mayor, Regional Councillor, Local Councillor and School Board Trustees. Our government has a responsibility to serve communities; our collective responsibility is to ensure that they do it well. As readers and subscribers to this newsletter, we are champions of diversity and inclusion. Actively participating in the democratic process, and promoting opportunities to share power with people who haven’t shared in it in the past, is our collective responsibility.

To successfully effect change in Durham Region, engagement and empowerment need to become part of our daily thinking. A key element is the duty to promote democracy and a better understanding of, and involvement with, the local democratic process. Municipal elections matter. They give local people a chance to understand the issues, to debate them with politicians and express their views. This process helps all of us understand the trade-offs and constraints that public bodies are operating in.

We all need to “own” what’s going on, and get actively involved. This October we are entrusted with the ultimate power. To send a message to potential leaders of our community about what we want to see on the political agenda. It is through engagement of the electorate that our politicians learn what’s important to you the tax payer.

Public officials have the opportunity to improve local living conditions by maintaining sound policies. These policies then enable our officials to address local needs, such as housing, infrastructure, education and health, ensuring that no-one gets left behind.

Marginalized groups have not historically participated equally in civic life, leaving them on the fringe of the economic and political influence. The issue of exclusion will not be resolved by the social service sector, government or “the system” alone. To manage sustaining change, everyone in the community must get involved, and speak up about what matters to them.

The right to vote is a right those who came before us fought hard for, and a right some residents traversed the globe to acquire. This October let’s remember our responsibility to vote and, in doing so, make for a better community!

This past September businesses were invited to grade municipal council on values, vision, communication, decision making and attitude. The results were compiled from a report card that was designed by consultants from Municipal World. Municipal World is the oldest continuously published monthly municipal magazine in the world. Founded in 1891, the magazine is devoted to promoting effective municipal government.

—————————A        B         C         D      Don’t Know——————
Values                       1%    15%    40%    31%    13%
Vision                        2%    18%    13%    17%    50%       
Communication          2%    13%    36%    26%    23%   
Decision Making        12%    28%    45%    15%               
Attitude                      3%    21%    28%    29%    19%
Expertise                    1%    14%    31%    36%    18%   

2010 Average Score    1%    16%    29%    31%    23%   

A- Excellent  B- Good  C- Fair  D- Poor

Overall 1% of respondents gave Council an A, while 29% gave them a C and 31% a D.
26% of respondents gave Council a D for communication – while 23% of respondents didn’t know if council used plain language in motions, by-laws, notices and debate, and prompt followed-up of complaints. 45% gave Council a D in decision-making which reflects evidence-based decision making, councillors’ support of best practices in issues like road maintenance and economic development and council’s delivery of defendable decisions in a timely fashion.

50% of respondents didn’t know if the City had a Vision which includes the strategic planning process and the City Official plan.

In the area of attitude Council earned a D from 29% of respondents. Attitude reflects such issues as treating staff with respect, making the public feel welcome at meetings, respectful attitude shown toward delegations and councillors communicating with business on a regular basis.

. “As the voice of business, the Chamber encourages members of our business community and all citizens of Oshawa to understand the issues that will shape our future,” says General Manager and C.E.O. Bob Malcolmson. “Be informed and make sure you vote.”