Thursday, January 27, 2011

Civic Engagement: What Can Councillors Do? Part Four

As stated previously, I believe that the only authentic way to improve local governance on a long-term basis is to 'increase the relationship of engagement between the residents and their Councillors'.

The direction of the engagement is paramount. It has to come from the citizenry to be authentic and longstanding. The primary impetus has to come from us.

However, I also believe that Councillors must do what they can do to help build this new relationship of engagement. Here's my fourth suggestion towards this end.

A Councillor should hold regular 'town hall meetings'.

I do not believe that anything will ever replace the importance of in-person contact. Of breathing the same air, of being able to see the person in front of you, of being able to shake their hand and confirm their humanity. Especially in local governance, where there's no reason why this can't be accomplished. (Unlike in say with your federal representative when Parliament's in session)

For too long, there's been a divide between resident and elected official. For too long there's been almost knee-jerk cynicism towards Councillors. An 'Us vs Them' mentality...even though residents are the 'employers'; City Hall works for us.

Town hall meetings are invaluable opportunities to not only break down walls, but to enhance engagement by way of genuine dialogue. They shouldn't be regarded by Councillors as 'inconveniences that prevent the job at hand from being done', they're actually a means to get that job done better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always interested in feedback, differing opinions, even contrarian long as they're delivered with decorum...with panache and flair always helping.