Inexperience at the heart of Harbour Grace mess
The Town of Harbour Grace has been quite a circus these past couple of weeks.
It began with a staffing crisis and there appears to be no end in sight. All in all, there has been no shortage of drama and intrigue coming from the Conception Bay North community.
In this week’s edition, we have one councillor calling for the resignation of Mayor Terry Barnes for a host of transgressions, including not following due process.
Coun. Gordon Stone came out early last week with a laundry list of reasons why Barnes should step down from his position and force the town into a byelection.
The crux of the request revolves around the aforementioned staffing crisis. Harbour Grace was left in a severe lurch when two senior town officials abruptly resigned just under three weeks ago.
Reasons for their departure are still not known, although it seems everyone has their own opinions on the matter.
Either way you look at it, things are not really good in Harbour Grace.
With all of its recent struggles, you get the sense something else is at work there. There is something underneath the controversy and cat calls.
At the heart of the problems is the inexperience of this version of council. Look at it. The council features four brand new entrants into municipal politics, while the other three have previously served, with Barnes last serving as deputy mayor.
It can be a lot to overcome. Even Barnes has a lot to get used to as the mayor. The position of deputy mayor can only prepare you for so much. There are bound to be bumps in the road, and a learning curve, when you make that jump.
That’s why this call for Barnes’ resignation is a tad premature. He is still learning what it means to manage a meeting and still adjusting to being the face of the community. While he thinks his heart is in the right place, Coun. Stone is showing his inexperience as a new councillor.
Unless the mayor has done something Rob Fordian, there really is no grounds for it.
Take the staffing crisis. Requesting that the process be sped up is not something that needs to be brought up. It should be a given. The town should not continue to operate without a full-time chief administrative officer for much longer.
Any proactive councillor would be requesting this. It’s just the way it is, and the way it should be.
Was his execution off? Yes, but his heart was in the right place.
These new councillors have an idea of what a council should look like, and how it should operate. But, municipal level councils do not come with a manual, or a how-to guide.
Each is different, and each have their own set of practices and ways they do things. Sure, the Municipalities Act provides a set of guidelines, but for the most part, councils have to find their way.
Council has to operate as a unit. It’s the only way for it to function properly.
If there is one ripple in the pond, there is going to be turbulence. It’s inevitable.
They must learn to work through this inexperience and grow together.
It’s not going to be easy, but they can do it.