It’s too soon to see political election signs cropping up on lawns and along the streets of Summerside but it’s not too early to begin thinking about the 2014 municipal election.
Summerside city council is entering the stretch run of their current mandate and the election is a mere five months away set for Nov. 3.
None of the sitting councillors have said publicly that they will be re-offering and one has already stated he will not seek re-election, that being Cory Thomas.
It certainly seems like Basil Stewart will seek yet another term as mayor, given his frequent presence in the social media, outlining his appearances pretty much on a daily basis.
And there is one announced candidate for mayor - John Curtis.
The last three-and-a-half years for this council have been interesting ones.
This city council set some firsts in dedicating itself to accountability, openness and transparency.
It is the first city council to publicly declare travel expenses and hospitality expenses – at least for the first half of 2013. There has been nothing come from the city since.
It was a good start but somewhere along the way that initiative has fallen flat.
Council needs to keep the public aware on a regular basis about their expenditures if they want the citizens to buy into their promise of accountability, openness and transparency.
One other shortcoming of council’s pledge to be forthcoming is Committee of the Whole. There needs to be some checks and balances set up to limit the topics for discussion behind closed doors. Keeping the public out of the discussions of issues that directly affect them is not being open, accountable or transparent.
These will surely be topics for discussion in the coming weeks and months.
While none of the councillors have announced their intentions, nor have any challengers to the sitting members, be assured that the politicking is underway and questions are being asked, “Who’s running against whom?”
Overall, the present city council has worked to identify itself, its departments and its management and how all can work together.
Under management, the city has brought in two top-level staff in Chief Administrative Officer Bob Ashley and director of financial services Rob Philpott, and both have bought in strongly to the accountability openness and transparency policy this council initially established – particularly in including the public’s input into the 2014 municipal budget process.
The last election saw five new faces brought to council and four sitting members voted out. Obviously, after years of seemingly the same council doing the same things year after year, the voters said it was time for a change.
It will be interesting to see what kind of report card this council gets from the voters in November.