The best leaders are great listeners who champion the ideas, hopes and dreams of the community, promote unity and inspire confidence – not dominate, disregard or disrespect residents and community groups.
Citizen input has diminished and decision-making has been centralized over the past 12 years. Unlike other communities, Oakville residents have limited input into the day-to-day operations of their neighborhood recreation and cultural facilities.
Too often residents report difficulties in dealing with Oakville’s planning department, resulting in costly delays in approval. Furthermore, Oakville Hydro has an unacceptable ranking for customer service. One in four customers report receiving poor customer service, a much poorer performance than other local hydro providers. (Source: 2016 Sector-Wide Consolidated Scorecards of Electricity Distributors)
The Mayor Sets the Tone of Welcome and Inclusion for Oakville
I believe it’s the Mayor’s job to set the “tone at the top” and create a culture of welcome and inclusiveness as a priority in every aspect of Town operations, from Town cultural and recreational facilities, to the planning department and Oakville Hydro, and to the working environment for Town employees.
Oakville should be an inclusive collaborative community where people can speak freely without fear of retribution/reprisal. Domineering and disrespectful behavior is unacceptable from anyone in political office or public service. As Mayor I will propose that the rules overseeing the decorum of public meetings are strengthened and enforced.
Invite Residents Back to the Table and Decentralize Government Control
Leadership isn’t JUST about the Mayor or Council, its about inviting everyone to the table to learn from each other and share expertise. It is about seeking input, acknowledging other perspectives and decentralizing control. The current Mayor has a record of centralizing control and dominating committees. My approach is different. I recognize the value of our residents’ input and will invite residents back to the Town’s table through citizen advisory committees and meaningful boards.
- Oakville Performing Arts Council
- Greater Engagement at Community and Cultural Centres
- Enabling BIAs to Bring People Back
Tapping into Oakville’s Tech Experts
Technology innovation is transforming our lives. Governments are typically slow to embrace the many benefits that can save our Town money, improve the way we work and enhance our quality of life. Oakville is fortunate to be home to many of Canada’s smartest technology experts and companies – our Town government can benefit in many ways from their advice and thinking. As Mayor, I will harness our local talent and entrepreneurs to form a Technology Advisory Committee to help Oakville jump into the forefront of the adoption of smart technology that will benefit our community.
Age-Friendly Seniors Council
Unlike Burlington, Oakville does not have its own Age-Friendly Council. With a growing population of seniors with changing physical needs, the input of seniors will be vital to build a better community. As Mayor, I will seek the advice of an Age-Friendly council to make sure Oakville is supportive and welcoming to our seniors.
Town Services Must Be More Responsive to Residents
We must address the long delays and difficulty many residents report having when dealing with the Planning Department. As Mayor, I will work with Council and the Planning Department leadership to put an end to long delays. We will set and monitor key performance timelines for planning activities and ensure residents do not incur substantive costs from delayed decisions.
As Mayor, I will also work with the Board and Management of Oakville Hydro to set and improve customer service responses.
Town Culture Must Create a Positive Work Environment
From my experience of managing hundreds of people over a 35-year career, I know that you cannot provide great customer service unless your employees feel well treated. Employees must feel that they have the skills and resources to complete their tasks in a respectful atmosphere. As Mayor, I will work with Town executive to implement and monitor relevant employee engagement and satisfaction surveys to ensure that we set our employees up for success.
See Julia’s Better Together Action Plan for Oakville here.