Editorial: Hit the ground running

Too often, except for the reporters who cover the meetings, the gallery at South Dundas council meetings sits mostly empty.

The lack of attendance often makes it appear that people aren’t interested, but when something happens that they don’t like, that’s clearly not the case.

It was encouraging to see a decent-sized crowd of about 80 people at a recent candidate information workshop regarding the 2018 municipal elections which will take place October 22nd.

The meeting was for all municipalities in SDG, and a handful of people in the crowd were from South Dundas. They were there because they are genuinely considering seeking election.

Some were faces that became familiar through the school accommodation review process. Others were faces not before seen in the context of municipal government.

All in all, it was enough to give one some hope that there may be a good number of reasonable choices at election time. As a voter, that is all that one can really hope for when nominations get underway.

Municipal elections include school board elections. Unfortunately, there are often not enough candidates interested in those positions to hold elections. Here in South Dundas the English Public Trustee position has not been contested since 2003. That means for the last three municipal elections the trustee position has been handed to the only person who showed an interest in the job. With the power of that position and the size of the budgets they handle, it would be nice to have the opportunity to have a choice for representation.

For those who are considering seeking election, we would like to reiterate an important piece of advice North Dundas mayor Eric Duncan offered at last week’s meeting. He said that anyone planning to seek election should start attending meetings – now.

Being an elected official is an important job – and a complicated one. It’s not something that anyone should step into cold. Now is the time to attend those meetings. Not only does it show a willingness to commit to the work involved, it gives the opportunity to better understand issues and expectations. Being a municipal politician is one of the greatest acts of public service. Anyone willing to take on that responsibility needs to commit to doing the homework first.