Sherril Guthrie of The Guthrie Consultants Group Inc. performed a Mayor and Council Performance Review in January and February of this year and received no publicity, coverage or support from either of the chain-owned newspapers in letting Abbostford residents know about her work.
The results were published February 25 and we asked Abbotsford councillors and Mayor Banman what they thought of the results of Guthrie’s work.
We are publishing the answers of those councillors who chose to respond in the order they are received.
RESPONSES TO PERFORMANCE REVIEW
Abbotsford Today: How do you react to your own evaluation?
Councillor Henry Braun:
While the only true evaluation of the members of Council takes place at the ballot box, I am mindful that leadership often demands making hard, and potentially unpopular, decisions. While I am pleased with my evaluation, I recognize that I am in my first term. I also recognize that doing the “right thing” may not be the “popular thing”.
AT: How do you react to the overall evaluation of Council and the Mayor?
It appears that those involved in the review are expecting a high level of performance from their Council. This is rarely accomplished easily. All of us who are responsible for decision-making at City Hall have room to improve. Whether we are elected or employed, we must serve the people of Abbotsford with diligence, wisdom and accountability. We all must ask ourselves, “Is this the best I can do?” Suffice it to say that serving on Council is often hard work that must be done, whether appreciated or not.
AT: Do you support Mrs. Guthrie’s efforts to provide citizens, voters and taxpayers with the opportunity to rate their political leaders?
Yes, I believe that Mrs. Guthrie’s work provides the community, and we who are elected by that community, with a helpful tool to assess how at least a portion of the public views the performance of their local government.
AT: Does the report choose good key results areas for evaluation?
Yes, while other indicators of performance may have been chosen, the key results in the areas chosen are certainly worthy of consideration.
AT: How do you feel about the fact the report suggests that Financial Management is the most pressing concern of the citizens who participated?
I continue to believe in a more open and transparent form of government, especially in the area of finances. Budget information must be simplified so that taxpayers understand where their tax dollars are being spent. In other words, it is the job of local government to take complex financial matters and present them to the public in a way that is readily understood by the public. Very few of us have time to spend hours/days perusing financial documents. As an example, increased use of graphics would allow the public a much quicker understanding of revenue, expenses and City Hall priorities.
AT: Do you have any comment on Mrs. Guthrie’s statements about the Fear Factor in Abbotsford (page 7)?
Government at every level must stop trying to drive the public to a pre-determined position by using scare tactics. People who have legitimate concerns are often written off, denigrated and demeaned as opposed to dealing with the facts. I have met with many business owners who are afraid to ‘push back’ for fear of retaliation, i.e., they will be black listed thereby creating more problems for them in future dealings. It pains me to hear people tell about a problem which they want fixed, but who will not grant me permission to identify them…that is a serious problem in my view and requires a significant cultural shift beginning at the top of the organization.
In summary, we must change fear of City Hall to faith in City Hall.
To read the original report please click here.
For background and more on the issue please click here.
For commentary of the Fear of City Hall revealed in the report please click here.
To comment on the report please use the Comments box at the bottom of the post, use the Send Us A Story box on the bottom of the home page or simply email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org