After serving as our mayor for three terms, or 10 years, Mayor Nolan Crouse has faced harsh criticism from several fronts. Accusations have stemmed from double-dipping expenses to voting on matters in which he had a pecuniary interest.
A Court of Queen’s Bench judge recently ruled that it would be unjust and disproportional to remove Crouse from office for two decision flaws. The judge said Crouse did not recuse himself from voting on two cases where the judge deemed Crouse had a pecuniary interest.
I have estimated that 10 years in office would amount to approximately 10,000 meetings and probably the same number of decisions, more or less. His detractors drilled down all of those decisions a few where it they accused him of procedural violations, and they began a movement to have him removed from office.
Really? 10,000 meetings, 10,000 decisions and a few violations can cause a public official to face a court to lose his position as mayor? What is going on here?
As an instructor of business ethics, I am all for clean decision making among public officials, but doesn’t this smack of something far stranger than keeping ’em honest?
Social psychologists have noted that we are moving into an age of perfectionism whereby we have been taught in the previous movement of developing high self-esteem that we can create our own positive narratives about ourselves and believe that they represent the truth. It appears that his critics are creating narratives to make themselves look holier than thou. This is a temptation we all face in this era of perfectionism.
Social media has given us the power to project the perfect image of ourselves in a published medium. Yet we remain human and grapple with our dark egos concerned with toppling those who have more power than ourselves. These are tribal instincts manifesting themselves in a modern context.
Furthermore, our mayor’s detractors are exhibiting a recent and dangerous aspect of our times – mobbing. This tribal instinct propels us to create stories about an enemy by exaggerating one facet of a person and diminishing others much like a circus mirror distorts the true image and produces a highly fragmented one.
My advice to Mayor Crouse is to ignore the critics and aspire to lead as his heart dictates. Run the race. Go for the highest leadership position that inspires him because the public is growing weary of the circus and want leaders who are authentic and capable.
With an election in the near future, let’s keep it real and believe in more than tribal propaganda.
Sharon Ryan, St. Albert