Platform of Ideas

Every Voice Counts in Guelph: Open Government

Open Government

This election has highlighted the fact that many Guelph citizens feel disconnected from City Hall. For some, the issue is about spending tax dollars, while for others it is about decisions being made without sufficient engagement of residents who are most affected by what City Hall does.

A lack of transparency and accountability at City Hall is a common element I heard from citizens and the fact that the City’s bureaucracy has grown large and sometimes unresponsive. It’s not a left/right issue – it’s about having a local government that enables the creativity of citizens rather than trying to control the outcomes.  A City Hall where staff are accountable and proud to work for the people of Guelph, directly.

As your Ward 3 Councillor, I am committed to creating a welcoming environment for our government.

Accountability for actions 

  • I want ethical systems that are based on transparency in all areas of our local government. Our elected officials and Senior Staff must be held accountable for shortfalls as much as they are applauded for improvements.
  • City Hall should be delivering, at least, quarterly reports on the status of programs and services as well as the implementation of various strategic plans.
  • Bylaws should be reviewed on a more regular basis (every 5 years at least) so that issues like the Driveway Width Bylaw are keeping up with changing times.

Transparency means tracking city budgets and services, as well as making data available to the public more quickly and easily.

  • The potential for Web 2.0, Open Data and Open Source techniques to improve city services, create jobs, and generate new solutions to old problems is huge. I will work with the community to find technology solutions, be it “off the shelf” ready to go or something built from scratch, that will enable every citizen to have access to publicly available information.
  • I believe that the information the City holds should be publicly released in machine-readable data formats that can be used and reused by anyone (except for specific, narrow privacy and public security exceptions).  I would work with the City Council and Staff to accelerate the release of municipal data by mandating the release of publicly owned data by City departments, agencies, and boards.

I will open the doors to City Hall welcoming in the community-at-large

  • Our residents suffer when decisions are “already made” and without effective public leadership. Decisions that have a major economic or social impact on the city will no longer be made without thorough public involvement. Ideas will be respected and suggestions will be taken seriously and not brushed off. It’s time we work together not apart.
  • As City Councillor, I will regularly host town hall meetings. I will also offer both online and in-person public forums to offer opportunities for ongoing engagement by the community. I want City Hall to create an Open Door policy. Let’s Talk and Listen to each other and find consensus, compromise and common ground on the important topics our city faces.
  • I will work consistently to empower members of our community so that everyone begins to develop a deeper understanding of city departments and the responsibilities assigned to each. I want the overall citizenry to have a stronger voice in budgetary matters and other government processes.
  • We need to increase awareness and citizen engagement, which requires proactive outreach, and being available to our residents.

As we get closer to Election Day, I will be posting more on this topic and will add more points to this posting!

“I know that Guelph is one of the best places in the country to live, that’s why my Grandfather immigrated from Yugoslavia and settled in Guelph on Durham Street in Ward 3 over 75 years ago. It is why much of my family and relatives have stayed here and raised their kids here and why we have served in the community over the years. But, there is real work to do here in Guelph to make the Royal City an even more amazing place to live, work and play, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to get started building with you a better city for future generations to come”

Steven Petric – Ward 3 Candidate for Guelph City Council
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