Tuesday, June 2, 2015

THE DARK SIDE OF PUBLIC SERVICE

As a volunteer, I am often frustrated by criticism from folks who never get engaged, or lift a finger to share their talent or time - but offer scathing criticism.

No matter if it is a service club, coaching, a school council or organizing a fundraiser - these nattering nabobs of negativism drive me to the brink. One example that rushes to my mind is the construction of our new Primary Elementary School. I refused to take no for an answer. I called the socio economic maneuvering for what it was and kept up the fight despite a general consensus in many quarters that it was a waste of time and effort. In the end, those of us that gave our time, talent and in some causes treasure (and lost opportunity) to the cause, proved that perseverance and the facts can win out.   I can not help eliciting the biggest kind of grin and smile every time I look at the steel as the outer envelope goes up.

My point is leadership is not always about being popular, it is not about being right or ones own ego. It is not about being unpopular either.

Those who step forward to offer themselves for public office - municipal, provincial or federal - sacrifice a great deal to perform in the roles we elect them to. Sure there are financial remunerations but none of that compensates for lost time with family, being on call 24-7 or the abuse that they sometimes have to face.

We all have a right to question, offer counter-points and take stands on tough issues. However there are lines. Personally threatening the safety of an elected decision maker is one of those lines.

Development in and around Quidi Vidi has been a bone of contention for well over a decade.  It appears to be a no win situation for city politicians. If you allow development a certain group is upset, if you freeze certain development - the land owners are livid. Despite consultation, professional development reviews and debate at the council level - there is no one size fits all policy.  The result is decisions that impact people.

At last night's City Council Meeting, the Quidi Vidi Overlay Report , a guide for future development in the village meant to balance future development and balance the village's historic character, was passed. Controversy ensued. Respectful dialogue with those opposed to a freeze on some development deteriorated to the point where the Sargent-At-Arms, a former RCMP Officer felt concern for Councillor Jonathan Galgay's safety.  He was escorted to his vehicle by security following the meeting.


No doubt, for folks who hoped to cash-in on potential development by selling family land watching the council rezone a potential bonanza into worthlessness must have been a bitter pill to swallow. There are many ways to work within the system and outside of it in the courts - but intimidating and threatening elected representatives is unacceptable.

Mr. Galgay has proven himself to be a hardworking, conscientious, balanced and outspoken member of council. 

 His public service should never come at the cost of his personal safety. 




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