NORTH PERTH – As nomination day approaches, a number of municipalities in Perth County put on their second candidate information workshop.
On April 13, Fred Dean gave a presentation on running. Dean is a lawyer that has an extensive history working with municipalities across Ontario. He gave advice and praise to those looking for advice.
“I think anybody, whether they run or not, who gives consideration to being a member of council is [taking] a big step,” Dean said. “Members of council are community leaders and then they take on a significant, substantial role within each of the respective communities. It’s really important.
“Local government is an exciting place to be and it’s rewarding. It makes a huge difference. If you decide to run for council, you’re going to have a huge impact on your community.”
Dean went on to say that local government is distinct from other levels of politics. “Local government is accountable and transparent, like no other level of government, by far more accountable, and by far more transparent.”
Not only that, but they also do a lot for the community – far more than people might initially think. He tasked attendees with writing down everything local government does.
“It’s astounding,” he said. “If you get to 50 or 75 items, you’ve done pretty well. I mean, you’re not even close. The list is well over 100 services that are provided by local government.”
Dean said that to run for council, you should be asking questions. Running for council is a big undertaking:
“What’s the job description? Why are you running? What do you expect it to be doing when you’re elected? Understand the role of the other people in the organization, what their responsibilities are? You’re not a manager, you cannot direct work, you can’t micromanage your organization. Take some time to understand your personal obligations under the Code of Conduct before you put your name in and understand what the obligations are. Talk to your family. This is a family decision because it will have a significant impact on your relationship with your family members. Have them understand what you’re getting into and make sure that you can normalize your life, if you will, around these new requirements and these new commitments. I started off by saying congratulations. I really mean it. I think even considering running for council deserves congratulations. It’s a huge step.”
Nominations open on May 2. Those looking to run for council or as a school board trustee can find the information sessions, held on April 6 and 13, on North Perth’s website. For more information you can contact Lindsay Cline at the clerk’s office.
Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner