A few weeks ago, there was a post making its way around Facebook from Richard Stewart, the Mayor of the City of Coquitlam. He put together a hypothetical Job Description for first-timers considering a run for office at the municipal level. In addition to experience and knowledge base, it included paragraphs on expectations, working conditions, hours of work, remuneration, and more. Is it worth the read?
Stewart goes into great detail, and includes a multitude of really important points, both positive and not so positive about Council positions. Listing a few below:
- General: “A democracy only works if good people step forward to run.”
- The Candidate: “You have passion for your community, and you seek out ways to make it better.”
- Expectations: “You will attend meetings of Council, Council-in-Committee, Strategic Planning, Finance Committee, Town Hall, Advisory Committees, Standing Committees, Subcommittees, Task Groups and Working Groups… Public Information Meetings and Neighbourhood Outreach meetings… community events… fundraisers…”
- Expectations: “… you’ll come to know the vile power of anonymity on the internet; social media has changed this job, and some of the change is definitely not for the better.”
- Working Conditions: “You’ll likely find the work incredibly gratifying, unnerving, frustrating, tedious, exhilarating, saddening, hilarious; it will make you happy, sad, and angry, quite often all in the same three-hour meeting.”
- Working Conditions: “This position carries no protection from bullying or intimidation by co-workers or the public”
- Hours of Work: “If you want to do your job well, you’ll find yourself working almost every day of the year, including vacations.”
- Remuneration: “You will be paid substantially less than what the public thinks you are paid, and what your spouse thinks you should be paid… Council member is one of the only “jobs” in the province that is not subject to standard severance pay, WorkSafe BC, Employment Insurance, etc.”
The post finishes up with a general discussion about the upcoming election and candidacy in Coquitlam. Is Richard Stewart’s posted ‘job description’ worth reading? Yes, it should be an eye-opener for everyone preparing to vote in municipal elections, and is an invaluable overview for all first-time candidates seeking election on October 20, 2018 - with one important exception.
Next post: What is Stewart's 'Job Description' missing?
Nominations for the Township of Langley 2018 Municipal Election are now open. Packages for the positions of Mayor, Councillor, and School Trustee are available here, and will be accepted at the Civic Facility until 4pm Friday, September 14, 2018.