From the Mud Creek News

A submission from David Daniels, also available in the Mud Creek News which may, or may not be, at the Post Office.

LEADERSHIP BY OMISSION OR HOW DECISIONS ARE MADE BY DOING NOTHING

The RCMP’S long term contract under which it provides policing services to the Town is set to expire in March, 2012.  The Town budgeted $1,131,400 for police protection for fiscal year 2011-2012.  That amounts to slightly less than 15% of the Town’s total operating budget or about 1 out of every 7 tax dollars goes towards policing.

Has the Mayor led a public effort to investigate whether
Town residents are satisfied with the policing services provided by the RCMP before a new multi-year contract is signed?  Has the Mayor or Council explored alternatives to the RCMP such as a cooperative agreement with the Kentville police department or Kings County or forming its own police force, which it once had?  Has the Mayor even informed the public about the status of the RCMP contract?  (The two 2011 Mayor’s Newsletters did not contain any mention that the RCMP contract would be expiring in March of 2012.)

Chapter 38 of the Town’s Bylaws states that the Police Services Advisory Committee  “ . . . shall make a complete annual report to Town Council, and other reports from time to time as required.”   It also requires the Committee “To provide annually to Council and the NCO an evaluation of the policing services with the Town with reference to Policing Goals and Objectives as stated.”  

If such reports were available, at least the Council and public might be able to make an informed decision about the policing services provided by the RCMP.  But there are no such reports on the Town’s website. 

In 2009, the Town spent $20,000 on consultants to write a Public Engagement Tool Kit.  The Tool Kit includes a Public Participation Process 


Checklist/Guide.  If the Council had gone through the checklist, which it did not, it might have decided to engage the public on this issue.  

It isn’t as though this issue snuck up on the Mayor; it’s been known for years that the RCMP contract was ending in March 2012.  If the Town Council could spend time deciding whether the Witch Hazel should be the official tree of Wolfville, it had the time to discuss with the public whether it was getting its money’s worth from a $1.13 million expenditure.

I don’t know if the Town should sign another multi-year contract with the RCMP; I don’t know if there are other options available; or whether the contract for RCMP policing can be modified to better serve the needs of Town residents.  I didn’t live in the Town when it had its own police force.   

Why hasn’t the Mayor or Council pushed for public consultation on this issue?  Is it because the Mayor and other Council members feel it is not an important issue warranting public engagement?  Do they  believe that there are no good alternatives?   

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter anymore.  It’s too late.  By doing nothing, a decision has been made.

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