“If council wants to reduce the budget, council has to consider reducing the services, end of discussion.” So proclaims our extremely well paid CAO, the manager of Saanich services. Mr. Thorkelsson apparently believes that our city is operating at peak efficiency. Every process and service is delivering value. Innovation has been exhausted. The CAO’s ultimatum is clear: approve the entire budget amount as requested or you, council, will be responsible for the resulting pain.
In the midst of difficult decisions it would be nice to hear solution-oriented can-do taxpayer-friendly problem-solving ideas from our CAO rather than an attempt to manage council. Our system depends on at least some councilors having the fortitude and/or the experience and skills necessary to effectively hold the service delivery upper echelon to account and to demand more of it.
It is easy to approve feel-good projects and more spending. Being fiscally responsible and providing effective governance is difficult. Yes, it is unfair to Mr. Thokelsson for me to react to a single quote, but his words, taken in isolation, have Parkinson’s Law and manipulation written all over them.
After all this is the same CAO who found the time to retweet a political message which smells a lot like managing council rather than operations. As budget dissuasions proceed, any of our councilors who demonstrate the ability to rise above the budget rhetoric should be applauded.