Posted on 03 October 2012 by admin
There are far too many elected officials who like to spend taxpayer dollars like drunken sailors on leave.
There are also some taxpayers out there who don’t believe elected officials should spend their money to attend workshops, seminars or regional and provincial conferences no matter how big or important the function appears to be.
There are some elected officials who don’t ever have a sober second thought about attending as many out-of-town functions as humanly possible.
There are cynical ratepayers who believe every penny spent by elected officials representing this town at events like the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCVM) is a giant waste of their hard-earned cash.
Like most things in life, it should be about balance.
Here in Osoyoos, Mayor Stu Wells and all members of town council – including C.J. Rhodes, Michael Ryan, Mike Plante and Sue McKortoff – as well as the town’s chief administrative officer Barry Romanko, attended the UBCM annual conference last week in Victoria.
There’s no doubt it cost a significant chunk of change to pay for these six individuals to attend the conference, but sometimes you can’t put a price on the cost of doing good business.
This conference not only provides an opportunity for members of town council to meet fellow elected officials from across the province to discuss key issues, but it also gives them the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with provincial cabinet ministers and other senior members of the provincial government.
A cynical person might say that very little gets accomplished during these large-scale conferences.
However, a more optimistic person would suggest it’s absolutely crucial that our elected officials meet with other elected officials to talk about problems and issues they all share and to take advantage of the many experts and policy makers who are in attendance and sharing information with them.
As Wells commented during Monday’s regular meeting of town council, it’s up to each member of council to take attending these conferences seriously and try and absorb as much information as they possibly can.
There’s no reason to believe the current members of town council didn’t take this extended trip to Victoria very seriously and no reason to believe it wasn’t an exceptionally rewarding and informative experience. Osoyoos is a small town, but the residents of this community should expect nothing less than to have the key decisions makers on council meeting, greeting and talking to the power brokers who run this province.
For anyone to suggest they should have just stayed home to save a few thousand dollars is very shortsighted and ignorant. The mayor and members of this council and most smalltown councils across the province receive a pittance in salary for the amount of work they do and decisions they make and this should never be forgotten.