Corner Brook city council voted at private meeting Monday to terminate long-time chief administrative officer Mike Dolter because members of council decided the city needs a “new direction.”
Their desire to change course may be laudable, but taxpayers didn’t vote for the CAO of the city to set direction for the city — new or otherwise.
Voters terminated almost all of the previous council at the ballot box, and one would assume, they did it so a fresh council would take the city in a different direction.
This council will now have the opportunity to put their handpicked administrative head in place to do their bidding — whatever that is decided to be.
The “new direction” hasn’t been outlined for residents yet. In fact, council members don’t even seem to know what it will be. But will this single personnel change mean the city will be the better off?
It’s members of council who have to do what they were elected to do: help decide how to run the city efficiently and make it a better place for all citizens to live and prosper.
Hired help is there to carry out the wishes of those elected by taxpayers, offer advice and recommendations and do the thousands of routine tasks required to keep a city of any size running.
Professional staff members at any level in municipal government aren’t paid to set agendas or direction for the city.
Residents can be thankful this removal seems to have been done in a professional and civilized manner.
Both sides are saying all the right things and avoiding any bitterness, so it shouldn’t end up tarnishing Corner Brook’s reputation. It may, however, make recruitment of a new manager a little more difficult.
Moving ahead, council must make sure the next CAO knows clearly what is expected and how to balance the responsibility he or she has to council, staff and members of the public.