Potential council candidates get chance to learn about positions
Okotoks: Pre-election information meeting will be Sept. 11
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 06:00 am
Potential candidates will have a chance to learn what to expect if they step into the ring to run for a seat at the town council table in October’s municipal election.
The Town of Okotoks is hosting a candidate information session on Sept. 11 for anyone interested in running for either a town councillor position or the top job as mayor.
The meeting will be held in town council chambers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is open to everyone and there is no charge to attend.
The meeting doesn’t delve into policy or politics, it’s solely for candidates to learn what they need to know about the nomination process, campaign rules and the job of being a councillor.
“If they’re interested in running for council there will be a presentation of roles and responsibilities and the commitment,” said Nancy Weigel, Okotoks’ communications manager.
People will also learn about the various boards and committees councillors serve on and the amount of time they can expect to commit to the position.
Weigel said attendance at the information meeting has ranged over the years, however, she said it’s not always representative of the number of people who end up putting their names on the ballot.
She said some people who have attended the meeting in the past chose not to run, while others ended up running in the election without going to the event. She said about 20 people attended an information meeting before the 2010 election, however, 27 stepped forward on nomination day.
Former mayor Bill McAlpine encouraged anyone thinking about running for town council to addend the information session.
He said being on council is a significant commitment. Although councillor positions are part-time, he said it is a time consuming endeavour.
“It’s not just the council meetings, it’s all the other associated meetings with being on council,” said McAlpine.
As for being mayor, he said it’s a big responsibility.
“To do a good job you have to be there every day, open and available,” he said.
McAlpine also said the mayor’s position is not a nine-to-five job.
“Your life is not you own,” he said. “It’s a 24/7 job. You’re going to get calls at home, you’re going to get stopped on the street.”
McAlpine encouraged people to go into the job with an open mind.
“I think it’s a poor thing to go in with your own agenda, you don’t want this or you want something specific or you don’t want something specific,” he said. “That’s a bad thing. You want to go in with an open mind, not a hidden agenda.”
Councillors also need to be prepared to work with their counterparts in other municipalities in the region, said McAlpine.
“I think that’s important that you can’t live in a cocoon, you’ve got to be part of the bigger picture to be successful,” he said.
Nomination day is Sept. 23 between 10 a.m. and noon. Candidates must file their nomination papers and pay their deposit at the Okotoks Municipal Centre at that time.
Anyone running for town council must pay a $100 deposit and candidates for the mayor’s job have to pay a $500 deposit.
Nomination forms are available on the Town’s website at www.okotoks.ca