By now most Ponoka candidates have seen that there’s an election going on (if you haven’t then I recommend selling your metal detector).
The signs are up and most likely a lot of the candidates have come and knocked on many doors in an effort to capture some confidence and votes. Along with that Ponoka News has featured all — except one who declined the offer — candidates, both mayor and for council seats.
Some housekeeping rules before heading out to vote.
• Each person has one vote: If you’re looking for a revolution from one individual, it might be a good idea to remember that that person must still work with six other individuals who are doing their own research. No one is going to make any changes if they can’t work with the others.
Indeed, even the mayor, who can help drive the agenda or council meetings has only one vote. It’s a bit like herding children sometimes but the mayor is only one of seven when it comes to a vote.
• One hit wonders: It may sound like a broken record, but the person who appears to have one issue, or an agenda with the town may be someone you have to consider carefully.
• Incumbents: By now most residents know the incumbents. If as a voter you’re still unsure how to vote, my recommendation, and others have asked me, is to research Ponoka News’ website as well as town minutes.
Councillors votes are recorded in the minutes. Visit www.ponoka.ca and click on the Town Hall tab. There you’ll find the link to the agenda and minutes. Minutes have a way of providing the basic information of the evening. They can be quite informative.
• It’s a job interview: A special reminder that this is a bit of a job interview for candidates. This is a good time for voters to try and understand how a candidate thinks using thoughtful questions. Again, it’s not about tricking a candidate but seeing if they understand the issues and can speak to any concerns.
A good check list would be to see if they answered the question. If not, reiterate, they may not understand what you’re asking.
• Policy makers, not operations meddlers: Regardless of what we think, the mayor and councillors cannot get involved in the day-to-day operations of the town. They have one employee, the chief administrative officer.
Council sets policy and bylaws and works with the CAO, who then directs his staff to get the job done. As soon as one of these elected officials steps in to mess with operations, it not only undermines the CAO, it also helps create confusion. This is the last thing our elected officials need to do.
• Looking to the next four years: When voting for a person voters should ask themselves if their picks are the ones they would like to see represent them for the next four years. It’s an important consideration and while there are no clear visions of the future, an educated guess may help.
All the candidates must be recognized for putting themselves out in the public eye. It’s not easy being scrutinized. Municipal politics have the potential to be among the most rewarding though, as results are seen relatively quick (in bureaucracy terms that is).
For those 14 candidates (two for mayor and 12 for council) the best of luck to you all in this next election for the Town of Ponoka.