Thursday, October 16, 2014

Making it easier for Chilliwack voters

Over the weekend I did some digging into the information available for voters in Chilliwack. It was hard work. Too hard really. The objective quickly became - How can I make this easier for people? Not that I think people need easy so much as I think most people are really jammed up for time. Removing barriers to finding information in order to make an informed decision about voting is one way to reduce the time challenge.

What have the current city leaders and board members accomplished?

That was my starting point. I went to the Chilliwack website and did some searching and digging and then more searching. What I found was some basic information about the councillor's official activity over the past three years.

Click here to open the above sheet.

Next I assigned points. Not really fair as the activity is mostly assigned by the mayor. Regardless, it's something to inform the larger picture.

Click here to open the above sheet.

Reporting challenges

As you can see city councillors are pretty busy. Some more than others. What's missing is an indication of what they have done on each of these committees and boards. My thought as I was going through this process was that if this was an organization each person would have reports, maybe a work plan and outcomes linked directly to goals and objectives. In short there would be evidence of accomplishments.

I did find a report, of sorts, on the city web site and was directed by Mayor Gaetz to another, more recent report similar to one I had found. Viewing that report inspired a post about how to write and report out on goals and objectives. It also ignited a lot of discussion with some of my colleagues.

The problems with small

I work with several brilliant and politically savvy people so I asked them to weigh in on the challenges that municipality experience. What we came up with was the problem of small. Smaller municipalities have fewer resources and few people to draw on. Often getting it done shoves the finer process details out of the way.

At the provincial and federal level you are more likely to find professional politicians who hold MBAs and other leaderly degrees. That doesn't make them better than our local folks. It does make it more likely that they are well versed in governance processes and norms. Local leaders tend to have a solid grounding in business but not necessarily in areas like organizational design or leadership studies.

My point here is that this isn't an exercise in pointing fingers. It is a discussion about the very real capacity challenges that plague municipal politics.

Candidates - where art thou?

The final thing I struggled through over the weekend was trying to locate the candidates, both returning and new. There are a lot of them and that's an awesome thing. The shear number suggested that I had to find a way to gather up all their online points of contact. This is what I came up with. The link to the form is here. And the results are here.

You can help

Please point this out the folks in the running that don't spent enough time on Twitter to have seen the tweets asking for their input. And share the information with your friends, relatives and neighbours who are looking for more information about the candidates. Make it easy for them, please.

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