The City of Merritt hosted a public engagement session in the Council Chambers on Tuesday night, giving attendees the opportunity to ask questions to current and former elected officials about their roles. Hosted by Chief Administrative Officer Sean Smith, alongside Director of Corporate Services Greg Lowis, the event was meant to inform those considering a run for office of the commitments and expectations of a Mayor and Council.

Incumbent councillors Tony Luck, Melvina White, Travis Fehr, and Kurt Christopherson were present, fielding questions from participants and sharing their experiences serving on City Council. Fehr and Christopherson have publicly announced their intention to not seek reelection, while White will run for her seat again. Councillor Luck will be running for Mayor in this fall’s election. Before the Councillors took the stage, the evening began with an introduction from the CAO.

“We recognize that it’s a big commitment to even get to this spot, where people know you’re showing up for a meeting and discussing possibly running for council,” said Smith.

“You’ve had a lot of conversations to get to this point, and we’re grateful that you have an interest. We acknowledge that it’s a big role and it’s a critically important role. We’re at a point in time that’s exciting, but also challenging, and we don’t want to minimize that. We’re not going to sugar coat what it’s like being on Council.”

Smith added that many recent challenges the City of Merritt has faced, most notably the November 2021 flooding event, are ongoing issues that require pressing attention from both City staff and elected officials. A decline in industry has led to a smaller tax base in the City, and Merritt’s lack of an anchor industry means less direct options to ensure City services are properly funded.

After Smith and Lowis discussed the role of staff in City Hall, the floor was opened up to questions. Multiple attendees asked about the weekly time commitment, travel commitment, avoiding conflicts of interest, and the role of Mayor and Council in communicating with residents. The importance of collaboration was also a feature of the evening.

“If there is one thing that we can say as staff, and I’m sure that council would reiterate that, is that running a City requires a team. That doesn’t mean you have to have the same views, in fact I think they’re often made stronger if you don’t, but it means you have to be able to work with each other respectfully,” added Smith.

“If your goal in being here in this room is to advance that, to treat each other respectfully and work with your fellow councillors, then we will be successful as a team advancing the goals of the City.”

To watch the full meeting, visit
For more information on the 2022 election, which is set to take place on October 15, visit