About the Questionnaire
Shaping Burlington is asking every candidate in the 2010 Municipal Election to let us know where they stand regarding the implementation of the Shape Burlington Report. These are the questions sent to the candidates on 14 September 2010.
Candidate Questionnaire, 2010
The Shape Burlington report – Creating an Engaged Community – contains eight recommendations. The report can be found here.
The following survey is to obtain your reaction to each of the recommendations. Please note that your responses will be posted on our website using the exact wording that you submit.
Please restrict your answer to each question to the four lines of space provided using a 12 point font (roughly 350 characters and spaces). This will provide an incentive to the public to read your full answers and enable them to make comparisons across candidates.
1. Communication: Empower people by overcoming the communication deficit.
The City should foster the development of an independent information service, including a web-based community news and information portal, and fundamentally transform the Communications Department at City Hall to become a timely and reliable source of City information free of political bias.
Question: Are you satisfied with how Burlington’s Council and city staff communicate with residents? If not, what are the current problems?
What would you do to improve the situation?
2. Trust: Improve the public’s trust and confidence in City government
Staff and Council members should review their protocols and procedures for dealing with citizens, including an overhaul of the delegation process.
Question: Are you satisfied with the current methods that City Hall uses to respond to issues raised by Burlington’s residents? If not, how would you revamp the process of responding to residents’ and delegations’ inquiries and issues?
3. Vision: Shift City Hall processes to greater involvement of all citizens in a shared vision of our city.
Citizens should be more involved in preparing Burlington’s Strategic Plan after each municipal election.
Question: How would you involve citizens in the preparation of the City’s Strategic Plan following the up-coming elections?
4. Engagement: Transform the City Hall culture to promote active citizenship and civic engagement.
A crucial first step is the development of an Engagement Charter, a plain language policy document that incorporates benchmarks and accountabilities for citizens to influence City policies. This includes an early notification system that provides adequate time for citizens to understand, discuss and develop positions before decisions are made.
Question: Do you agree with the development of an Engagement Charter? If yes, indicate the roles that residents, staff, and Council would play in the development of such a charter. If no, explain why not.
What should the Council do to ensure that Burlington’s citizens are informed of what is going on at City Hall in sufficient time so that they can provide meaningful input to its decisions?
5. Participation: Empower committees and community organizations that work for people.
An Office of Engagement should be established to foster and implement recommendations contained in this report. The Director of the Office would implement the Engagement Charter, working with municipal departments to review their policies and design more effective forms of consultation and engagement as well as developing a template for independent community or neighbourhood councils.
Question: Is an Office of Engagement needed to ensure that citizens and citizen advisory committees are properly notified, consulted and their recommendations implemented or at least seriously considered? Please explain your position.
(2) Do you support an Office of Engagement working with the community to develop a template for community or neighbourhood councils? Please explain your position?
6. Belonging: Build a caring and inclusive community.
The City should reach out to minorities, marginalized groups and all of Burlington’s geographical areas. This would include establishing a policy of inclusivity measurements to ensure that City policies, programs and services reflect our changing population.
Question: What can the City do to effectively reach out to minorities and marginalized groups throughout Burlington to ensure that the City’s decision-making reflects its existing and changing population?
7. Youth: Reach out to the next generation.
In cooperation with the school boards, Council should invest in meaningful educational initiatives at different grade levels and also engage students on issues important to them. Members of Council and staff should be made available to speak to students in their schools.
Question: What ideas do you have for encouraging young people to become more informed and engaged in local government, especially with respect to issues that directly concern them?
8. Governance: Define roles and responsibilities.
A governance review should be undertaken to clearly define and differentiate the roles and responsibilities of Council and staff.
Question: What is your ideal in terms of the roles of members of Council and the roles of City Staff, and how the two should work together?