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EDITORIAL: Moving on with new leadership

Corner Brook will soon be welcoming a new manager to city hall. Melissa Wiklund, originally from Carbonear, will fill the city’s top position beginning in March.

From the release sent out by the city Tuesday, Wiklund seems to have the experience needed to do the job and excel. According to the statement, she has 14 years of experience in the “public and community sector with a heavy concentration on public policy, public consultation, community planning and stakeholder relations.”

She also has experience in municipal governance while employed as the employed in the Neighbourhood and Community Support Services Branch with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray area), carrying a population of about 116,000.

“Ms. Wiklund has a strong history of public service with a stakeholder-focused approach to service delivery,” said the mayor in the prepared release. “Her background is quite diverse with a high level of expertise in community and strategic planning.”

The is great news for the city, which has been without a manager since Mike Dolter was relieved of his duties in June 2014. While a municipality can function without a head for a short period of time — Corner Brook is proving that at the moment — a leader is needed for long-term planning and execution of duties, as well as managing a large staff.

It’s also great news for council, which will have one entry point to city staff and someone to carry the onerous duties of running the city the way the elected officials see fit, as well as steering the city using the vision of council as her path.

Things can get off track if one of two things happen: the manager doesn’t deliver on the mandate set forth by council or council meddles in the day-to-day operation by directing staff other than the city manager.

Barring these, council — through the tutelage of the mayor — and staff under the leadership of Wiklund, should have no issue working together in not only running the city, but finding ways to flourish and prosper in these tough economic times.

There are challenges ahead — just as there are everywhere — but ensuring a bright future for Corner Brook pays dividends throughout the western region.

Let’s welcome Wiklund and new ideas she will bring to the job.

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