Mayors, Councillors Urged to Know their Function

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is calling for all mayors and councillors to become knowledgeable about their roles.
  • Noting that there were some five-term elected councilors who still did not know the function of committees or how to construct a resolution, the Minister said the presenters at the two-day meeting were chosen to instruct them about these and other tasks.
  • Mr. McKenzie further told councillors and mayors that they should be self-critical “and not allow themselves to become less than who they were elected to be”.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is calling for all mayors and councillors to become knowledgeable about their roles.

He said they must be able to speak about the critical matters that make their positions function.

Minister McKenzie was addressing a two-day regional sensitisation session for local representatives held on January 18 at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester.

Noting that there were some five-term elected councilors who still did not know the function of committees or how to construct a resolution, the Minister said the presenters at the two-day meeting were chosen to instruct them about these and other tasks.

“How many finance committee chairs have taken the responsibility to know how your committee works? How many councillors have ever read the procurement guidelines outlining how we operate responsibly as an organisation?”

Mr. McKenzie asked, as he cautioned the group against appointing committee chairs based on longevity.

He reminded them that they have responsibility for critical areas such as water supply, public health, public cleansing, the fire services, traffic lights and all parochial roads.

Mr. McKenzie further told councillors and mayors that they should be self-critical “and not allow themselves to become less than who they were elected to be”.

He also cautioned them against making public statements without having the correct information or knowledge.

“There is a right way to do things, but there is also a legal procedure to be followed, even when you might be right,” he said.

“Although public perception cannot remove you from office, your pride goes beyond drain cleaning and bushing roads; you have many other services to offer to those who have elected you to serve,” he pointed out.

Other presenters at the sensitisation session included Senior Director of the Procurement and Asset Policy Unit, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Cecile Maragh, who spoke about procurement issues; and Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, who addressed the role of his office and its relationship with local authorities.

JIS Social