Editorial: Who gets to play in the sandbox?

A recent proposal by City of Powell River mayor Dave Formosa to form a community advisory finance committee received support from some councillors at a meeting on Thursday, July 25. The concept involves bringing in representatives from a variety of sectors in the community to help councillors with input on taxation matters.

Councillors and the mayor should be commended for aspiring to be more transparent, which seems to be a big knock against them at times from some members of the electorate. That, of course, is not only confined to Powell River; it happens in all communities.

What process will be used to determine who is chosen for the 20- to 30-member committee Formosa thinks is needed to fulfill its mandate? He wants to bring in at least two people from each sector to go through the process as if they were elected.

Will they be elected or chosen, and by whom? How will that be decided and how will it make the financial process better? What if more than two people from a certain sector are interested in joining? Who decides who gets to play in the sandbox?

Why is a separate committee even necessary? Is it just to placate naysayers who are always bickering and nitpicking over decisions made by council and suggesting what could have been or should be done?

Whether their concerns are valid or not, the proposed committee may give some residents the opportunity to have their say in what services taxpayers pay for, but we have an election every four years and vote in councillors and a mayor to make those decisions. Can’t they just make the choices they deem appropriate and be judged at election time?

Does seeking input from outside of council undermine the election of its members, who were chosen by the public to make these decisions? The city has well-paid staff members to advise council on matters, and a CFO. Why is that not enough?

Does this proposed advisory finance committee open the door for more committees in other areas and only elongate the decision-making process?

We already have residents complaining about who is on council. What’s next? Are we going to hear complaints about who is chosen to be on the finance advisory committee, how they were selected and why they get a voice that others are not offered?

Voters make their choice on election day. The majority want the people who are elected to make decisions in the best interest of the city as a whole. If the electorate is not happy about what goes on at city hall, then another election comes around soon enough.

This proposal brings up more questions than answers.

 
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