What Makes for a Good Councillor and an Even Better Mayor?

Councillors work hard for the residents, but some rarely work with them.

A poor Councillor always votes “yes” on staff recommendations. Is it because they have not read the report, do not understand it, or believe town staff are the experts on everything? Probably yes to all of them.

A good Councillor reads the staff reports, asks questions, and sometimes votes “NO” when the alternatives or even doing nothing are not considered.

A poor Councillor may listen to residents coming forward to do delegations but already has made up their mind, has a bias against the person or the group they represent, and asks no questions.

A good Councillor listens closely to what people have to say without bias, asks appropriate questions, and considers the insight of a different point of view. They are not afraid to change their vote and truly listen and represent residents who are concerned enough to come speak before Council.

A poor Councillor has no understanding of the fiscal responsibility they have for the decisions on how to spend taxpayer money. They claim it will not cost the taxpayer any money. They vote to hire consultants and then do nothing or little with the report. We refer you to the consultants and their reports on

      • The Parks Master Plan
      • The Cobourg Waterfront Plan
      • Downtown Cobourg Master Plan

Where are these consultant reports now? Were they worth the many thousands of dollars that we paid for them?

A good Councillor questions the need for a consultant report that will gather dust. They ask Town Senior Management to find alternative solutions and focus on specific actions to implement solutions. Be wary of candidates who talk about the next master plan needed when they are elected.

A good Councillor understands what the Town is responsible for and what other levels of government are responsible for. They demand accountability from those responsible.

The Mayor as head of Council has a role to lead, guide, mentor and build consensus with Council.

A good Mayor ensures the Council meeting agendas are relevant and address the most important issues. They do not include agenda items that discuss operational issues such as whether the Victoria Hall washroom be locked requiring a key for use or where porta potties should be located. They understand which agenda items to include and exclude.

A good Mayor conducts Council meetings efficiently, keeps the meeting on track and ensures Councillors stay awake during the long meetings.

As a member of the County Council, a good Mayor asks Council for their input on matters such as community and social services including housing affordability. They communicate back to Council how important issues at County Council are being addressed.

A good Mayor builds consensus within Council, listens to other Councillors, and respects what they have to say.

A good Mayor and Councillor represent the people and listen to their concerns. They understand Town staff are looking for Council to prioritize proposals and provide direction on the needs of the Town.

This is what makes for a good Councillor and Mayor.

You need to decide if the current candidates wanting to be re-elected were good Councillors during their term and if the new candidates have what it takes to be a good Councillor.