As their term winds down, three Rossland city councillors, including both mayoral candidates, mused Monday about the perception of their jobs versus reality.
Without citing specifics, councillor Jody Blomme said she found it interesting to learn what at least some members of the public think goes on between council members.
“It’s really quite different from my first-hand experience,” she said. “I’m just remarking that there is a disconnect between the two in how we work together.”
Blomme, who is not running for re-election, said she has never felt any member of council has withheld information from her or prevented her from finding answers. She added that even expenditures, a matter of public record, are sometimes “spoken about generally in town as being quite different from what they actually are.”
Blomme said there must be some ways for council to improve communication with citizens, but she wasn’t sure what the answer is.
Fellow councillor Kathy Moore, who is running for mayor, said she has personally experienced misinformation in the community.
“I’ve heard that I’m not a [Canadian] citizen, that I come to 50 per cent of the meetings and that I call in on the phone all the time,” she said. “[In fact] I’ve been to 97 per cent of the meetings, four on the phone. Word gets out there — gets out in all kinds of circles and we can’t always control that. The only thing we can do is say how it is.” (Moore has dual Canadian-American citizenship.)
Councillor Jill Spearn, who is also running for mayor and prefaced her comments by saying the discussion risked veering into campaigning, said her observation from nine years on council is “yes, people talk. It’s like a game of telephone. I think our job is to be honest and not make up stories. I never have.”
Spearn said while there are many good things going on, and council conversations have been “worthwhile, sincere and genuine in most cases,” she found it “unfortunate” things sometimes “went a bit sideways.”
“I have personally risen above it and look forward to the next four years if it is to be and making sure we communicate to the public as well as we can,” she said.