In his professional life, Paul is a partner in a consulting firm that provides advice on governance issues to governments in B.C., Alberta, Yukon and the State of Washington. This role gives him a unique perspective on making government work smarter and with greater transparency.Here is his vision of how to fix the problem we find ourselves in:
If I am elected Mayor of Victoria, my key pledge is to deliver a Council and City Hall that is open, accountable and transparent to the public. Here’s what I mean by that:
• Victoria will have a realistic and public plan for restoring or replacing its crumbling infrastructure, including its sewers, roads and public recreational facilities.
•Future city budget plans and financial forecasts will share with the public all the assumptions they are based on, not just those that make the numbers look better than they are.
•When taxpayers are told their rates will increase by only 3.9%, they will not get a tax bill later saying 7%.
•When city projects are budgeted, that is the amount taxpayers can expect to pay, not double or triple that amount due to a lack of financial controls at City Hall.
•City Council will devote itself to creating realistic and measurable targets and monitoring results, not micro-managing every issue and project that comes along.
•City Hall will be seen by the public as a collaborative partner in the development of proposals, plans and initiatives that address the stated objectives of the City Council and the community at large.
•City Hall staff will be non-partisan, free of political influence and perform to the universal standard of a professional public service.
•Council and City Hall will operate to a publicly-recognized standard for open government transparency and the timely sharing of information. By default, all information will be made public unless there is a sound and defensible legal reason for not doing so.
•City Council will not conduct in camera meetings without a legally sound reason. And if Council goes in camera, the specific reason will be shared with the public.
My Vision for Victoria
Here are 13 actions I will take to achieve this result:
•I will have an independent review conducted of the City’s financial affairs and position.
•I will eliminate the City’s Corporate Communications Office.
•I will order a review of the City’s executive, management and administrative functions and implement changes.
•I will re-examine and re-structure the City’s public advisory committees as required.
•I will develop and publish a list of the City’s infrastructure needs and conduct a public consultation to prioritize and build them into the City’s annual budget plans.
•I will order the public disclosure of the financial status of the Johnson Street Bridge replacement and the prioritized list of risks associated with it.
•I will open an immediate discussion with Esquimalt to determine possibility of renewing the Policing Agreement.
•I will open discussions with Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Saanich to determine the feasibility of sharing garbage and organic waste collection services.
•I will request the CRD consider funding the Johnson Street Bridge replacement on the same basis as the replacement of Craigflower Bridge (92%).
•I will fund the implementation of the Official Community Plan and the Downtown Core Area Plan
•I will ensure that Local Area Plans are updated and adhered to.
•I will order a review and public report on the City’s efforts to mitigate homelessness and the results to date and open negotiations with higher levels of government to place the burden of responsibility in their hands where it belongs.
•I will initiate revision of the Economic Develop Strategy to focus it on the City of Victoria as opposed to Greater Victoria, make it action oriented in nature and allocate a budget to it.