Job opening: One mayor

Ad hoc group drafts up a job description for city’s “CEO”

Do you know what it takes to be a good mayor?

A group of Campbell River businesspeople believe they do; so much so, they’ve developed a job description they hope people will consider when they vote in this fall’s municipal election.

“A few people have met over the summer to see if we could develop a profile description for the role of mayor in Campbell River,” said lawyer Brian Stamp.

The group noted that provincial legislation, the Community Charter, sets out that the mayor is the head and chief executive officer (CEO) of the municipality. The role of mayor is key in setting the community agenda and gaining the support of council to move the agenda forward. It is also important that the mayor, like a CEO, is able to monitor how effectively and efficiently the city administration implements the direction provided by council, Stamp said.

An election is really a recruiting and hiring process for the public to select the leaders for the advancement of their community, Stamp said. They depend on these leaders to know the major opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and to plan the community’s future in a way that ensures the community is vibrant and sustainable.

“It occurs to us that voters may not know what to look for in a mayor to meet this expectation,” Stamp said. “Using our own resources and some basic research, we established what we believe is a profile of desired traits for the role. “As well, we hope that people who have some of the characteristics of this caliber of leader might identify with the role and step forward as candidates.”

Stamp’s group includes former Evergreen Savings Credit Union manager Garth Sheane as well as Sandra Parks, Dave Chilton, Doug Lang, Dan Sampson and Dean Boates. They met every Friday morning to draft up their job description for the benefit of the community.

“This is non-partisan effort,” Stamp said. “There’s no criticism of anybody (on the current or past city councils). It’s a system of how we can recruit for the community a first-class manager.”

Sheane said Campbell River is at a transitional moment in its history after the loss of the Elk Falls pulp mill and sawmill. Much of Vancouver Island is in the same boat and Campbell River will have to compete with other Island communities for the same opportunities.

“We have to look for new ways to go forward,” he said.

Sheane and Stamp said they don’t see any problem with an ad hoc group drafting up a job description for the mayor. They’re not putting forward any candidate of their choosing, they just want to start a dialogue in the community so that voters make the best choice. They said they’re willing to hear other people’s input and ideas.

Utilizing his past management and board experience, Sheane learned that when you ask for someone to come forward, you don’t often get very many candidates. But when you describe the job more precisely, people have a clearer view of the task at hand and that tends to encourage people to step forward because they see they have the skills to do that job.

Stamp’s group hopes to present their job description to any interested group in the community. They hope to approach the Rotary Clubs as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Rivercorp for forums to present their ideas. Contact the group at: leadership4cr@hotmail.com

According to the Stamp group, the challenges that a mayor of Campbell River faces are:

  • Lack of development downtown, city is “hollowing out” in the core.
  • Lack of commitment to long term direction (always want to be “something else”).
  • Stabilize tax base.
  • Get a handle on cost structures and set expectations for service levels.
  • Improve alignment between city strategic direction and economic development function.
  • Strike a strategic balance between economic and environmental aims.

The best candidate for mayor has seven characteristics:

  • Confidence
  • Financial acumen
  • Administrative ability
  • Communicator
  • Experience
  • Motivated
  • Entrepreneurial

Confidence

  • Informed on the issues; faces problems quickly and directly.

Financial Acumen

  • Deep understanding of financial statements and analysis; bases conclusions on financial rationale; aligns strategic mandate to plans and budgets; has deep appreciation for links between community economics and the city’s business understands revenue drivers and the levers to sustainable growth.

Motivated

  • Has a passion to see Campbell River grow, prosper and compete well with other communities on the Island; is inspired by successful teamwork.

Entrepreneurial

  • Has a passion to see Campbell River grow, prosper and compete well with other communities on the Island; is inspired by successful teamwork.

Administrative acumen

  • Ability to translate vision into strategy and strategy into operating targets; excellence in delegation of accountability for results; knows how to overcome obstacles; inspires teamwork and passion in city management team, while respecting the unique roles of governance and administration.

Communicator

  • Able to engage well with the public in various settings and styles, in written or verbal form; able to inspire community to move community in a direction; adept at handling controversy in all settings; able to command in any situation.

Experience

  • Prior experience in a top leadership role in an organization with multiple levels of management; appreciation of civic structures and dynamics.

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