It’s been almost 5 months since the Alberta municipal elections, where we elected people to the position of school board trustee across the province.
At this point, trustees have had to disclose all their campaign funding (for Calgary: http://www.calgary.ca/election/Pages/information-for-voters/campaign_disclosures.aspx) , they have had time to get started on some of their campaign promises, and should start to feel at home in the role representing their communities and constituents.
It’s a great time to look at how our elected officials are performing in their new roles, as school board trustees.
- Have they been attending board/trustee/committee meetings?
- Have they been engaging with their constituents and community?
- Have they been attending school council meetings?
- Have they been participating in board wide initiatives?
- Have they made any progress on campaign promises?
- Are they regularly showing up to meetings?
- Are they easy to reach and communicate with?
- Are they sharing accurate and relevant board information?
We understand the role of school board trustee in Alberta is a part-time position. We are very pleased to see so many trustees dedicate a lot of time and effort to the role while other’s efforts to fulfill their obligations are lacking.
We are asking our followers, as engaged citizens across Alberta, to look back on the past six months and decide if the promises candidates made during their campaigns are materializing into actions as trustees.
We applaud and recognize the many trustees that have done an excellent job of engaging with their constituents, responding to emails and phone calls, attending school council meetings, showing up to school events, and even publicly standing up in defense of public education funding (We’re looking and applauding you @TrishaEstabrooks!).
However, in some instances it is a challenge to engage and connect with trustees. For example it has come to our attention that residents of Wards 12 and 14 in Calgary are struggling to engage with their CBE trustee Mike Bradshaw. Their emails and calls go unanswered. Meetings go unattended. Election promises unmet. We recognize that family or work obligations can impact a trustee and that there are often extenuating circumstances why someone is not engaging but constituents deserve to have representation as board work proceeds throughout the year.
It’s because of these kinds of concerns we thought it was a good time for citizens across Alberta, to reflect on how their respective trustees are engaging, behaving and representing their constituents.
It’s time to ask questions, it’s time to expect answers.
Democracy is most effective when we engage continuously, including between elections, holding our representatives to account.
Is your trustee engaged, or deadbeat?
Comment below on your experiences.