The District of Kent's CAO Wallace Mah explained the basics of municipal government to council hopefuls

The District of Kent's CAO Wallace Mah explained the basics of municipal government to council hopefuls

Lesson on politics for council hopefuls

District of Kent staff led information night for election candidates

Campaigning for election is a trying time, but the hard work really begins after election day.

There can be new protocols to follow, new political language to learn, people to meet with, and an entirely new schedule to become accustomed to. To get the candidates in the District of Kent going in the right direction, municipal staff organized a Candidates Information Session on Monday night.

CAO Wallace Mah offered a brief history lesson on how municipal government came to be, what the role of local government really is, and the importance of diplomacy among elected officials.

Above all, he said, candidates need to expect to do their job with integrity, and not for the purpose of furthering themselves, their friends or family members.

“This position is not for personal gain, and not for friends and family,” he said. “Council is there to uphold the hold. We are a governing body.”

He explained to the 17 people in the room (including many members of current council) that following the Nov. 15 election, the new council will meet on the first Monday in December, where they take their oath. Then, they will discuss strategic planning for the following four years. This year, terms change from the current three year model, a move that Mah said will benefit communities.

“Lots of times we don’t get all the work done that is set out for us (in three years),” he said, partly due to the lengthy process of grants and planning.

All councillors will also go to “councillor school” through the Union of Municipalities of B.C. There, they will learn the ins and outs of council, including ethics and legal matters.

Monday’s candidate information session also included a rundown of how the municipal elections are carried out, explained by Chief Electoral Officer Bev Kennedy.

For more information on becoming a candidate, the voting process, or how to vote, visit www.district.kent.bc.ca.