With a bit of pomp and circumstance and an air of expectation from a good-sized crowd, Mayor Don McCormick and six city councillors were sworn into office Monday evening at the Conference Centre.
Justice Tom Melnick oversaw the swearing in as all seven individually took the oath of office.
After a very brief business meeting to appoint Mayor McCormick to the RDEK and Regional Hospital boards and the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Advisory Committee, McCormick outlined a few of his priorities for the coming term.
He wanted Kimberley to thrive, prosper and be sustainable, McCormick said.
“Politics is about leading people to change and all leaders must take the time to listen. There’s nothing worse than storming the hill and then looking back to see people still standing at the bottom. If you don’t communicate as a leader, it’s a lonely feeling.”
McCormick said that he had met with the new Council to discuss what each had felt was a priority or issue while running, and came up with three top priorities.
Number one was for Mayor and Council to be more accountable for decisions and spending. Second was the issue of tax increases — the rate of increase and value for taxpayer dollars. Third, McCormick said it was apparent that City Hall was “terrible at communication”.
“We have a fairly long list of issues from Council which will be posted on the wall so we can see it and mark our progress,” he said. “Action starts today.”
City CAO Scott Sommerville and staff also had a to do list, McCormick said.
The first priority for staff is a service review.
“The service review will be open to the public and independent,” McCormick said. “It will evaluate where money is spent and where it could be spent better. It’s a baseline for better budgets.”
Secondly, McCormick said the city didn’t have a good track record with major projects, and the recent Auditor General recommendations for successful procurement policy and process would be implemented.
Third was the Sun Mine.
“We need to pay specific attention to the Sun Mine. Our job is to make sure expectations are met.”
Fourth priority is the completion of the flume project.
“There were several difficulties with phase one,” McCormick said. “There will be a lot of eyes on phase two.”
Finally is the issue of communication.
“It wasn’t a specific platform in the election but it is an issue with most governments,” he said. “At the municipal level it shouldn’t be that difficult to get right.”
He promised a weekly column in the Daily Bulletin updating city departments, monthly brown bag ‘lunches with the Mayor’ which anyone with a concern or interest could attend and quarterly Chamber of Commerce/City lunches to keep the business community updated.
“I am extremely excited about the future and will listen closely,” McCormick said. “I expect as a community that you will hold our feet to the fire.”