Before I served on city council, I thought it might be difficult to contact council members to share ideas and concerns.
The fact, I found, is that your Mayor and Councillors are very easy to contact and, what's more, your chances of a reply and/or interaction are very good.
Now I've been known to miss replying to an email or message from time to time. But my goal and my commitment is to reply to all messages sent directly to me. Council has recently asked the deputy mayor (a role we rotate through every month) to take the lead on replying to emails sent to all of council.
Please feel free to follow up if you don't get a reply within a few days. We are all human and sometimes things can slip.
This brings me to tone. Somewhat randomly, I'll come across social media posts or messages that strongly call out council. And I've never seen an email or message from the person who is aggrieved before, even when I double check.
I start to wonder. Is this just about getting something off ones chest? Does this person desire real interaction and change?
I know community issues can be very frustrating. But shouldn't people try to actually determine we are completely useless before just assuming we are. We may actually surprise you by showing some level of competence and caring.
I'd prefer people try to work with us rather than immediately working against us. What really is there to lose in trying?
We do care, council does to a person, deeply about this community.
The thing is we are in the middle of a difficult time which came in the middle of an era of huge change in the work we do on your behalf.
We can rise to these challenges and this becomes much easier when we respect and care for each other and put ourselves in each other's shoes.
We are all going to have different approaches and views. This is absolutely normal and healthy. It's no reason to become hard hearted towards each other right off the bat.
This does not mean we will find complete agreement or that it will be easy. But it does mean our community will be better off now in the future.
I know that bureaucracy and government is often hard to work with. That we are actually sometimes the hard hearted ones. I get it. I've made these mistakes myself. I ask for your thoughts and ideas as to how we can all be more open to each other.