With his first town council meeting as mayor under his belt, Rick Pankiw is looking ahead to the next four years with confidence and enthusiasm.
“I was nervous at that first meeting,” he admitted, “but I am looking forward to moving ahead and working with council as a team.”
With himself, Einar Olsen and Mathew Jaycox as new to municipal politics he is pleased to note Donna Tona, senior corporate consultant and vice president operations of Transitional Solutions Inc. is meeting with council Nov. 30.
Tona was in Rimbey before the civic election explaining the role of elected officials and will again offer her expertise to help the new council gain a clearer understanding of municipal politics.
Pankiw is determined to focus on moving forward in a positive way and believes communication is key to making that happen. To encourage the public to bring their concerns and questions forward, an open mike session will be established at council meetings. The 20-minute session will allow the public to talk to council without being on the agenda.
“We will still have regular delegations which will be on the agenda, but the open mike sessions will allow us to get feedback from the citizens. That is what we want. We want to listen.”
The new mayor plans to get together with council in early December to allow each councillor to bring forward issues which are priorities for them.
“We will prioritize those issues and take those priorities to the public and hold an open house so we can get feedback. And then we will start working on making those priorities happen.
Engaging the service clubs is another priority Pankiw wants to address immediately.
“They do such a great job of raising money in our community and we need to work with and communicate with them. I know they are more than willing to help, and I’m sure we can work together.”
Pankiw is pleased council agreed to eliminate the individual expenses from council packages and will now only show these costs on the town’s website.
“It will save us time and money, but the costs will still be available for the public to see,” he said.
The new mayor is pleased to note the proposal for the proposed aging in place facility is not dead in the water despite information to the contrary received during the election campaign.
When running for mayor, Pankiw read an e-mail he said he had received from MLA Joe Anglin which said the application for the lodge had expired.
However, he said he and CAO Tony Goode met with Denis Beesley, president of Bethany Group last week.
“It’s (the application) still ongoing and it looks good,” he said.
Pankiw will represent council on the Rimoka Housing board with Mathew Jaycox.
Rimoka Housing will hold its organizational meeting Nov. 6 in Rimbey.
Council will attend the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention Nov. 18 to 22.