I have been following the interminable and protracted foibles of this council since the 2011 election and, I must say, the picture isn’t pretty. How does one justify elected officials fighting in public and presumably in-camera, taking their issues out of the political arena and quite literally, into the streets, treating each other with disrespect, disdain, and contempt and generally making a mockery of anything that can be ruled a functional municipal body elected to govern?
To a number of council members, I say: grow up, move on or resign. You were elected to govern, not to behave like a bunch of buffoons. It is very disrespectful for you to continue in this vein, and with an impending byelection, what citizen(s) in their right mind(s) would want to sit on this council? Few, if any, I would suggest.
We have heard the rumblings, we have witnessed the shoddy, immature behaviours, we have been privy to struggles for power and control that seem to override what local or municipal government is about, namely the care and governance of the community.
As a former council member, I am nothing short of appalled by what is currently going on with the mayor and council. To those members of council responsible for most of the problems, I say: either play by the rules, play as team members, behave rationally, conduct yourselves with dignity or take your ball and go home. In other words, quit.
Now to the citizens of Merritt, I say: make your vote count at the next election. Get involved. Attend council meetings. Phone council. Email council. Ask to meet with council and/or the mayor. Make your voices heard. Go out and recruit people to run for the mayor and council positions and, above all get out the vote!
Given the current state of affairs with our elected civic politicians, I am embarrassed to even mention to anyone I am from Merritt. The political climate at city hall is simply not conducive to getting the business of the city done. If there has to be a major upset of this council come election time, so be it.
To those on council trying to save a sinking ship, I say, good luck. The Titanic was thought to be unsinkable too. Nonetheless, I admire those on council who have chosen the high road in this whole mess. It must be stressful for you. Enough said.
For the good of our city, mayor and council get a grip on your egos, your personalities, your questionable demeanour and get going.
There is much work to be done, and our tax dollars are being squandered as you continue to quarrel and bicker among yourselves. We pay you to make decisions, not to spare with each other. Remember, the citizens of Merritt are not stupid and will not accept the continued lacklustre, insipid performance of a few council members come election time.
At the end of this three year term, salaries for our elected officials will have approached nearly $300,000, including two byelections.
Ask yourselves, as citizens and voters, if you want to pay this price for what appears to be a highly dysfunctional group of people who are, de facto, your elected representatives. Your mayor and council. Surely, we as taxpayers deserve better than this.
Bonnie M. Cowan
Former council member
Re: Tempers flare at, after council meeting, Sept. 12 in the Merritt Herald
To be frank, I’m losing patience with Coun. Harry Kroeker over what appears to be a personal vendetta against her Worship Mayor Susan Roline. I find it despicable that he would continually interrupt regular council meetings, where city business is supposedly being debated, to launch his attacks at the mayor. So he did not like the fact that he learned through the media that the city hired a new financial advisor instead of being personally briefed on it. Don’t we have more pressing problems than how council is informed of the hiring of city staff?
That seems to be Mr. Kroeker’s excuse to have another public show of ill will towards the mayor. His obvious animosity toward Mayor Roline started back when she insisted to enforce a court ruling about conflict of interest of elected officials serving on boards of not-for-profit-organizations.
Susan Roline did her job as mayor when she enforced that court decision but it seems Mr. Kroeker felt that someone trampled on his toes and that he needed to publicly ridicule the mayor’s decision to uphold the law.
Personally speaking, I have a lot more confidence in Mayor Susan Roline than in most of our city councillors. I find that Susan Roline so far has done an excellent job as our mayor and above all she seems to take the oath of office very seriously; I can’t say I feel the same way about some of her councillors. If Harry Kroeker cannot find it in his heart to stop the continued attacks on the mayor then perhaps it is he who should consider giving himself some free time from his position. Right now it is he who distracts the order of business and drives a wedge between the council members and the community.
Something has to be done with this present city council. With all the positive things happening in this community, we read in our local paper about and witness on a live telecast a childish outbreak in chambers. To make it worse, this is not the first time such behaviour has been shown.
The elected officials of our city have to be told what many in this town are really thinking.
They were elected and took oaths to run this city the very best they can. A great many do not think they have been doing that. For the past several months, it seems, at least in newspaper and radio coverage, that more time has been spent on personal agenda and infighting within council than on the important matters that are needed to run this city ‘properly.’ By ‘properly’ I mean in a professional and adult-like manner.
This latest incident is pretty much the last straw for me. It really caps all the news stories and rumours that have been circulating for all those months. I find this all truly embarrassing. The pettiness must stop. Enough is truly enough.
As a business owner in Merritt, I have to be concerned about the image our city sends, and this is completely the wrong image. How can business owners and residents of Merritt be satisfied with what is going on? The timing of this type of behaviour could not be worse.
Merritt is on the verge of economic growth and yet the message being sent to those interested in coming here is our council does not care about its image or that of the city itself.
I personally know most of council and individually I think they are good people. As a group, for reasons I cannot fathom, they do not work well together.
In the incident last week, why was the matter of the city’s representation on the TNRD even brought up, especially, during a public meeting? It was obvious the matter was going to do little more than antagonize others on council and have the meeting deteriorate into the story it has. I was shocked at the lack of respect to protocol shown to our mayor but even more importantly to the position she represents.
All of our elected officials should be asking themselves if they are doing their best for this city. If the answer is anything but yes, then they should revamp their efforts. Whether they like it or not, they should find the common ground needed to ‘properly’ run this city, and put this infighting behind them. The only matters that should be of concern are those they were elected to do.
The electorate should expect nothing less then a council that looks after the best interests of Merritt. If that does not happen, then a little over a year from now they should show their opinion at the ballot box.