Editorial: Looking at experience on Princeton council

We live in interesting times.

Wholesale changes in representation aren’t that common at any level of government, and on Monday a new mayor and entirely fresh slate of councillors will be sworn in for a four-year tour of duty.

Just between four councillors that’s 24 years at the table out the door – and three of the newly-minted replacements have no previous council experience.

There are conditions under which such circumstances would be cause for anxiety, or at least a case of the nerves.

However it cannot be said that Princeton has been grasped by unpractised hands.

Mayor-elect Spencer Coyne served on council between 2002 and 2005, and that’s important. Candidates with zero council training rarely walk successfully into the mayoral role, regardless of their other accomplishments or qualities.

Randy McLean stepped out of politicial retirement to take a councillor’s chair, and he’s forgotten more about running a local government than most people will ever learn. McLean was mayor of Princeton four times, and was on council before that.

While a newcomer to polictics Barb Gould also has lots of municipal government experience. Anyone who has spent 11 years as a town administrative and accounting clerk certainly knows the ropes…and the mat…and the whistle of council business.

Indeed, each of Princeton’s new council members brings unique skills and strengths to the job.

While considering all of this, it’s also important to remember that even though council is new and faces a learning curve, it can expect to be excellently supported by Princeton’s chief administrative officer.

Little understood fun fact – only one person works directly for mayor and council. That is, the CAO reports to the mayor while everyone else, including directors of recreation, infrastructure and economic development, reports to the CAO.

While some past council decision were beaten upon during a rather dramatic run up to the vote, no one could find credible cause to criticize council’s choice in hiring Cheryl Martens in January.

Martens – who has spent a lifetime in municipal government – quickly established a deserved reputation for straight forward, by-the-book, letter of the law leadership.

An integrous and professional CAO is not someone you elect, but that person is invaluable to the people you do.

-The Similkameen Spotlight

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