Jason Whiting wants to get everyone on the same page.
Whiting, who is a current members of City Council, and a declared mayoral candidate for the upcoming municipal election, sat down with 106.1 The Goat on Tuesday to talk about how his campaign has been going in the past few weeks.
Whiting said he had been doing similar work to what he does in his role as a councilor, attending numerous community events to meet with Lloydminster residents, while doing work behind the scenes to get campaign materials ready. He also said he plans on ‘hitting the pavement’ over the weekend, and start knocking on doors in the city.
As for what he would do in his first actions as mayor, if elected, Whiting indicated he would be immediately focused on getting the new members of city council up to speed on the various issues where the municipal government has an active hand.
“There’s a lot of things that are taking place behind the scenes, and we’ll work hard to provide that information to the new council and continue to be informed on those happenings,” said Whiting.
When asked about what changes he would seek to make to the structure of council and the current city administration, Whiting discussed a range of possible moves. Among them were the reinstatement of a full-time deputy mayor, with a term which would be determined, as well as the possibility of forming a group of three executive council members to deal with the agenda review process.
“As a mayor, I’m not going to be the single sole approver of the agenda process, so I feel like there are some options there,” said Whiting.
Whiting also indicated he would not want the City to return to a system of council committees, which were abolished in previous years.
“I think we’ve come from a style of governance that did rely on committee structure, you could argue that it was inefficient, but it kept council very informed, but also wasn’t very transparent,” said Whiting.
“We shifted all the way, we swung all the way to the other side now, where all the decisions are made in open council, it’s very transparent, however, there are times where I feel that council could use some more information when it comes to these agenda packages, which come forward.”
He would also want to see council meetings held on a Tuesday afternoon, instead of the currently-slated Monday, in order to give council more time to review their information packages.
“That was my biggest struggle, to come off from a weekend, to have your weekend to review packages, or Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to review packages, and really have a small window to ask questions, to get clarifying comment from administration, before council meeting on a Monday afternoon,” said Whiting.
Whiting also discussed the possibility of improvements to the senior leadership of the municipal administration, though he did not get into specific plans, and mentioned that it would not be solely up to him as mayor.
“Is there areas where we can improve at that level? I believe that there is,” said Whiting.
“I think that we can make some changes, or provide some better clarity on goals, and targets, for the next year, and up to four years, and we’re going to have some very blunt and open conversations, after October 26, about certain roles, and I’m looking forward to having those conversations with the new council.”
When asked about the possibility of his run at the mayor’s seat being hampered by the legacy of the outgoing council, Whiting said he recognized that there had been a loss of public trust.
“I want to do better at leading our community, and building back that public trust,” said Whiting.
“I want to ensure that it is well known that I have an open-door policy, whether it’s from employees of the City, to other councillors, to residents of our city, I’m here to field all questions and all comments, and it’s my goal to build back and build up the public trust in our community, and just be as open and transparent as we possibly can.”
The municipal election takes place on October 26.