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Kitimat Mayor Monaghan attended the anti crude tar sands oil transportation gathering of Nations assembly in Kitamaat Village on May 29th - photo credit C. Wunderlich
COMMENTARY · 9th June 2010
Walter McFarlane
An excerpt from the Community Charter: The official BC Municipal conduct policy document.

Responsibilities of council members

115 Every council member has the following responsibilities:

(a) to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community;

(b) to contribute to the development and evaluation of the policies and programs of the municipality respecting its services and other activities;

(c) to participate in council meetings, committee meetings and meetings of other bodies to which the member is appointed;

(d) to carry out other duties assigned by the council;

(e) to carry out other duties assigned under this or any other Act.

Responsibilities of Mayor

116 (1) The Mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the municipality.

(2) In addition to the mayor's responsibilities as a member of council, the mayor has the following responsibilities:

(a) to provide leadership to the council, including by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that, in the mayor's opinion, may assist the peace, order and good government of the municipality;

(b) to communicate information to the council;

(c) to preside at council meetings when in attendance;

(d) to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of municipal policies, programs and other directions of the council;

(e) to establish standing committees in accordance with section 141;

(f) to suspend municipal officers and employees in accordance with section 151;

(g) to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council;

(h) to carry out other duties assigned under this or any other Act.

What to think about the Mayor in Kitimat? Is it is up to Council to clean up her mess?

At the City Council Meeting on Monday, June 7th, the topic of the Mayors image in the Enbridge Brochure stirred up a hornets nest.

Kitimat City Council has remained neutral on the issues of Enbridge; however Mayor Joanne Monaghan keeps making it look like Council has made a decision. By endorsing the Mayor’s statement, even retroactively, Council would effectively be forgiving her.

Her statements in the Edmonton Journal, which listed her title of Mayor, her statements in the Enbridge Brochure in her Mayoral regalia and her statements on the Enbridge Website using her official title tell a different story to the world of what Kitimat City Council and the City of Kitimat does and does not support.

When two of her Councillors tried to explain this to her at Monday night’s meeting, she shut them down and told them their opinions on this matter were wrong and she has the right, as Mayor, to make these statements.

Procedure falls into question here as well. Is it possible to make a motion while another Councillor has the floor?

Remember, Councillor Mario Feldhoff interrupted Monaghan to make his motion. The Mayor in turn interrupted Councillor Gerd Gottschling. The issue raised by both Councillor Randy Halyk and Gottschling was the Mayor overstepped her bounds by putting words in the Council body’s mouths.

The BC Community Charter says: ”(g) to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the Council;

In other words, she serves the will of council, not the other way around. This makes her statement that she does have the right to go over Council’s head using her position of the Mayor as false. However, it would be different if she was stating her own personal opinion… but as it was pointed out several times at the meeting, there she is in her Mayoral regalia in the Enbridge documents proclaiming her opinion.

If every time someone disagrees with her opinion, she is going to interrupt, use the gavel or argue against fellow Councillors, she should resign from Mayor and run as a Councillor.

What’s more disturbing is Council’s inability to send a decisive message. Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated he would hate to be painted as either supporting a proponent or an opponent at this time, then gives his blessing for Monaghan’s statement in the Enbridge flyer. If he did not want to be painted on one side or the other, he certainly has a funny way of showing it.

Look at who voted which way on the issues. Have Feldhoff and Monaghan already made up their minds on Enbridge and do not wish a dissenting opinion from the other Councillors. Monaghan’s statement to Wagner was just as interesting. According to her, Council was going to wait until after the review was done to make their decision… That must have been a very fast review.

Funnier still is her claiming to not have an official photo of herself, as herself, without the Mayor regalia, to use in the Enbridge brochure. She could not snap a picture of herself; seriously? Or maybe they could have used the one of her from the Enbridge Website? This claim could be seen to be entirely out to lunch.
Mayor Monaghan's picture on the Northern Gateway Alliance website taken April 28, 2009
Mayor Monaghan's picture on the Northern Gateway Alliance website taken April 28, 2009
Comment by Tom Campbell on 10th June 2010
MS. Monaghan quote “every time I open my mouth I get slaughtered for it, and I don’t like it, OK?” Do you want to know why you get slaughtered every time you open your mouth Madame Mayor… I’m going to tell you anyway… it is the people, not you, nor anyone else who determines if your leadership is successful if they want to follow you or not. If the people do not trust or they lack confidence in your leadership, then they will be uninspired and seek new leadership. Madame Mayor to be successful you have to convince the people, NOT yourself or your superiors that you are worthy of being followed. So far even by your own admission about "getting slaughtered everytime you open your mouth " it is evident that even you know you have failed to inspire anyone to do anything except mock you and council. Even the people who like to brag that they are watching are silent. I can only speculate on what their silence means; I hope that it isn’t because they agree with the way you are doing things I can only hope they are silent because what you do and say is simply indefensible. Start following and doing the will of council Madame Mayor, things will be a lot better, for all of us.
A fine mess...
Comment by Mike Forward on 9th June 2010
I'll try and lay my thoughts out on this reasonably.

Firstly, with regards to Councilor Feldhoff. I do not find any of his actions here untoward. I think his viewpoint of this affair is to take Mayor Monaghan at her word that she was speaking on behalf of herself, and that her comment was not meant to say she unilaterally supported Enbridge, but that she supported jobs. It is my feeling that when Councilor Feldhoff motioned to endorse that statement, it was with that in mind.

However, it's clear that there is a chasm seperating opinion on whether or not that is what the Mayor truly meant.

Which brings me to Mayor Monaghan. How is it that an individual who has been involved in politics at the municipal level for as long as she has appears so utterly clueless about how to conduct herself in public? She allows her visage to be placed in a pro-Enbridge brochure, replete with a quote of hers which could certainly be construed as being supportive of the project, in her full Mayor's reglia, quoting her as "Joanne Monaghan, Mayor of Kitimat"...and then expresses surprise that people think she's speaking as Mayor on behalf of Kitimat and Council?

This just boggles my mind. With the recent "cars and RVs in every driveway" remark(which she claimed to be misquoted on, but Mr. McFarlane provided the daming audio quote to this very website showing she was in fact not) it seems that the problem is more or less that she cannot seem to stop making statements arbitrarily without thinking them through or ensuring that it is in fact the will of Council before she does it.

The Mayor could certainly do with a long, long look at her roles and responsibilities. It might serve her well to also think long and hard before opening up her mouth in a public forum.

Some manners wouldn't hurt either, as she seems incapable of letting people finish what they're saying before she interrupts.