It's ten weeks since the election.Almost six since we swore the Oath of Office.We have had one regular council meeting and one special meeting.
Except for the odd pub visit,there has been no opportunity for Councillors to chat about anything.
So far, everything has been controlled by chairperson or staff.
I had hoped the off-site orientation would provide an opportunity to break the ice.
Normally off-site orientation is distant enough to keep everyone captive in the same place until it ends.
Councillors, staff and invited speakers are together from an early evening meal on Friday until after lunch Sunday. We eat together.Table sittings may even be planned. The program is tightly scheduled.
Friday we eat dinner and gather immediately in a room for a lecture until nine. A social hour after lasts until talk ends.
Saturday starts with breakfast at eight and continues again until nine in the evening. Followed again by a social hour.We are together for a mutual advantage. Conversation doesn't range away from the topics of the day.
Sunday follows the same pattern.We leave for home after lunch at twelve-thirty or one. Depending on the distance, we might get home for dinner.
Staff negotiate a package for accommodations, meals, and meeting rooms.For economy, hospitality is transported in cardboard boxes.
Speakers on various topics needed by new councillors are retained. To fit everything into the schedule, questions and answer periods are kept to a minimum. Mealtimes and social hour allows for delving into the topics.
It's a crash course on everything you ever need to know about municipal administration and laws that govern and restrict our authority.
Week-ends are family and leisure time usually. Leaving home on a Friday afternoon to drive far enough to hold everyone together long enough for successful completion of the objective,is not intended to be a romp in the park.
Staff and elected officials alike do it because we know it's necessary. There's no requirement for a candidate to be educated in the ways of government. If there was, as in ancient Chinese Culture, we would have an entire civil service class.
It would not be government of the people ,for the people, by the people.
Except for Councillor Ballard, who doesn't believe we need to go further than the town hall,Councillors have indicated strong support for off-site orientation.
They are eager to get to work and be the best they can be.
I agree. There's always room for learning and it's essential for a group to start on the same page.
I would rather not be sleepless in a hotel bed, use hotel amenities for forty-eight hours straight. I like my own bed and my own chair.I like to cook my own meals in my own kitchen.
But it seems our off-site orientation will hardly be such. The plan is to gather at a place near King City in time for dinner on Friday, fit in a bit of instruction from staff after dinner,no social hour,start again at eight-thirty a.m. Saturday, with more instruction from staff, finish at four p.m. and be home by ten-past.
Being sleepless in King City hardly seems worth the trouble ...or the expense.