Tuesday, May 24, 2011
After reading Ben Proulx's article on the renovations to the Mayor's office in Tuesday, May 17th Sherwood Park News, I felt it necessary to rectify some inaccuracies in its content. I respect Mr. Proulx as a journalist and am certain that he may have misunderstood some of my responses to his queries. I did invite The Sherwood Park News to come up to my office to personally see and discuss this topic, but they did not.
In my previous role as a Councillor, I did not have the opportunity to look at the Mayor's office design plans and had no say in the matter. While it is true that the previous council approved the whole plan for the Centre of the Park, we did not have detailed information on specifics. I only became aware of the office's design and some of the requirements that were overlooked needed once I became Mayor.
Washroom and emergency exit door
Because a privacy wall was built after the elected officials moved in, it became apparent that the Chief Commissioner, the Mayor and their staff only had one exit from where our offices are located. This was an obvious glaring safety issue. The previous mayor and administration should have caught this. This is unsafe in case of an emergency where that only exit is blocked. Therefore, a back storage room is being used for such a purpose.
This is also where a water pipe is being brought up from the second floor for a toilet and sink.
These are needed in the Mayor's office because the Mayor's schedule is booked to the minute and availability of the present washroom for me and office staff members is important. We meet with dignitaries and various government representatives whose schedules are very tight. The present two stall washroom is used by office staff members and anyone who comes to meet with the staff and elected officials. This is very good use of a small, unused empty space.
There never was nor will be plans for a wet bar in the Mayor's office. There is a line that will need to be added to connect piping from the second floor to the third for the washroom.
I purchased with my own personal money an electrical "fireplace" heater. It just plugs into an outlet and sits against a wall. The location of my office causes it to be very cold in winter due to a full wall of windows.
When elected officials moved offices, the furniture that was put in the new office of the Mayor was old furniture that was previously in someone else's office. One of my assistants does not even have a desk to work on in her office. These offices do not have all the necessary pieces that are needed such as filing cabinets, shelves, or locks that work on the drawers. These offices were improperly equipped. The Mayor’s office does not even have a filing cabinet or proper lockable drawers. My personal items such as a comb, mouthwash, nylons, toothbrush, and other personal items were in one of only three drawers at my desk.
This furniture order is only to correct an unworkable space for myself and my assistant down the hall to professional workable offices. Once I moved in my office space, it was clear that these corrections needed to be done. All that was ordered for my office were an office desk, a filing cabinet and bookshelves.
We have not spent $45,000.00 on this office. It also includes other offices’ furniture not just the Mayor's office.
We are looking into the matter to find out why and by whom some things were overlooked.
Council and I work very hard to ensure the taxpayers dollars are used appropriately for things such as snow clearing, firefighting, policing, Center in the Park, recreation, etc.
It is unfortunate that this item which was so incorrectly reported has placed the great work I believe is being done in our County by Council and staff in a negative light.
I sincerely hope that this answers many of your questions and brings clarification to this.
I believe in transparency and will continue to work hard as your Mayor as always.