If you've made it this far on my website I need to say thank you. You clearly understand the importance of educating yourself about the candidates before you vote.
Why did I put my name forward to stand for re-election?
The short answer: I enjoy the work, I like the community connections I've made with residents and I am a good listener and able to resolve issues. These qualities makes me good at the job.
The long answer: Preparing for an election is a great time for some self-reflection about your performance as a community leader. While creating the content for my campaign I dug up my 2014 election platform to see how successful I was on the commitments I had made to the community. I will outline in point form the issues I raised and a brief assessment of how I did.
- Open By Default: Needs improvement. Council was reprimanded twice for discussing topics behind closed doors in our first year. We did learn our lesson. The culture of open information has improved.
- Trust, It's Earned: For you to decide. I do what I say I am going to do.
- Citizens First: Our residents are the most important part of the job. Period.
- Customer Service: New customer service protocols, new website, online reporting, renewed attitude.
- Traffic, Safety: Advocated for purchasing radar signs, increased police presence, continue to advocate for action on our Regional roads.
- Transfer Station: I was the only Councillor who addressed Regional Council twice, strongly urged Council to pursue a private partnership after Regional Council authorization, and voted against stopping the process in light of poor public participation on the matter.
- Recreation Spending: Initiated a taskforce to examine spending at the WMC
- Control Taxes: Found efficiencies for 2015 budget creating a 0% budget, and keeping operating budgets below 2% in subsequent budgets. Continue to support 1.5% special infrastructure levy.
- Communication: Could be better. I promised a regularly updated website - the updating was the hard part. This new website will serve as my communication tool and will provide quarterly newsletter updates for those interested. Check back anytime.
- GRT Route 21: Initiated a task force to look at improvements. Elmira Bus project with Kiwanis Transit came from that effort. More work to do here.
I considered myself quite informed about the job going into the election in 2014 only to discover it was a large undertaking and commitment. A friend recently posted on Facebook about how I had told him I would still be coaching basketball and how I didn't anticipate much disruption to my regular life. I definitely laughed to remember how naive I was!
My first year on the job was pretty overwhelming. Aside from learning the job, figuring out how to resolve resident complaints at the municipality, putting in hours of preparation for hours of meetings, it seemed that half of our Council was creating headlines for legal peril as the outcome of the election. The divisive issue of the Catholic school in Breslau wasn't helping the job be any less stressful. A reckoning after my first year was needed to make more time for family life, my full-time day job, sports and leisure activities. I quit coaching, I pulled back from time-sucking low-productive meetings, I created rules for how I was responding to high-needs residents and eventually came to an equilibrium that works for the job and my private life.
The 2018 Election pages have outlined new and renewed commitments, priorities and direction. I'd appreciate you reading them and send me any questions or comments about my re-election platform.
There's still plenty of work to do, so be sure to vote Merlihan by October 22, 2018.