Keep our politics decent

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When policies and procedures need reviewing it often becomes apparent via a specific incident and someone takes the fall.

There sure is a lot of stir about Mayor Nolan Crouse and his expenses recently. It seems that a streamlining of expense reporting procedures is in order as the complexity of roles has increased.

What disturbs me is the whole tone of this episode. There is a real sense of righteousness and “picking on” Mayor Crouse instead of focusing on the policies which set the stage for this incident.

I think a couple of tenets are very useful and wise. The golden rule: treating others as we would like to be treated – it really ramps down the drama factor and the amount of fallout. This council has years left to work together for our community and investment in goodwill will pay dividends. Terms such as “double dipping” are vindictive and hurtful. In nearly 130,000 expenses reviewed there were 75 errors. This isn’t even close to half a per cent. Who among us receives grades like 99.9 per cent on our math exams?

We all like to think we do perfect record keeping, but the human brain is fallible – especially when taxed. This brings me to the second of the tenets that I like so much: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I don’t mean the error should not be brought to light but it could have been done with sensitivity, with the mayor personally instead of what appears to be a public ambush. He is a very approachable fellow in my experience. Let’s focus on the solution and on the issue and not on the person.

Interestingly, at the end of the day Mayor Crouse was owed $1,700. So go ahead pay for an audit of everyone. Restore trust and get back to the basis of the whole issue: streamlining the faulty procedure. This could be a costly experience, financially and emotionally, but could be worth the lesson of the importance of applying these two moral tenets.

It seems very straightforward. Rectify the reporting policy and move on, unless there is some undercurrent of political motive here. This echoes of Think Tank tactics. I hope there won’t be another picture of the mayor on the toilet this time calculating his expenses! These kinds of attacks generally backfire and do more to expose the ill will of the attacker in the end. So let’s keep our politics decent and focus on the solution. Please!

Jill Cunningham, St. Albert

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