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So you want to run for council?

by Dave Adsett

Hmmm. Now that’s something to think about.

We were glad to see an ad a week ago promoting a candidate workshop for citizens thinking about running for a council seat this fall. Each local municipality and the county are hosting an event that we hope fills the hall with engaged citizens interested in public service. It is being held at Aboyne Hall, on April 24.

The engagement promises to cover various aspects of municipal governance, duties of administrators, municipal conflict of interest guidelines, and the impact of public office on family life. Quickly, assumptions made about running things will be dispelled as candidates soon discover rules and procedures impact their ability to effect change.

Numerous candidates have registered already. They will have their reasons for seeking re-election or trying for the first time.

Our challenge to those sitting on the fence, thinking about a run, is to do some soul-searching and figure out the answer to this fundamental question: Is your purpose for running genuinely in the interests of making your community better?

Some other questions you might consider ...

Do you feel you can make a valuable contribution?

What actual skill-sets do you bring to the table?

Can you perform your duties without compromising your personal interests?

Are you running on a single issue or do you have numerous interests in common with your fellow residents?

Is it your time to give back to your community?

Are you a lone wolf or can you function as part of a team?

Are you only doing it for a pay-cheque?

Are you prepared to serve for four years?

Can you accept not getting your way?

No doubt other questions will surface, but this at least serves as a starting point for a very big, life-changing decision.

Most retired politicians will confirm the benefits far outweigh the negatives associated with public service.

Participating in capital projects, being actively engaged in planning issues that set the tone for the near future, helping build a capable team of administrators, helping citizens that need a hand with personal issues and opportunities to attend conventions to hear from some of the brightest minds in public office are the upside.

The downside is the loss of privacy and the rampant speculation that certain “loons” in a community offer up as fact. It is important to have a thick skin when it comes to the downside aspects. There will be those you cannot help, ever.

So you still want to run for council?

Congratulations - although a long road of challenges lies ahead, with the right attitude, it will be a rewarding experience you will cherish for the rest of your life.

 

April 11, 2014

 
 

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