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Right skills, employees and leadership of Oakville creates a liveable town

The citizen survey shows that Oakville has all the right elements, states 40-year resident Neil Huddlestone's letter to the editor.
Town Hall 1 | Oakville Town Hall | M Painchaud
Town Hall 1 | Oakville Town Hall | M Painchaud

If one of our children had achieved 80% in their exams, most parents would be pleased. If, however, the class average was 55%, then we might be ecstatic and realize what a gifted and hardworking child we have.

The Town of Oakville has just achieved these exact results in its latest citizen survey compared to the average of municipalities in Canada.

So while the Town has published the report and it is available online, it is useful to look for a moment behind all the details.

How can our Town have achieved such high marks across so many categories in the survey? I believe it comes down to leadership and culture.

Our Mayor and Council set the tone for the organization to be open, communicative, fiscally responsible, customer-focused and respectful.

Managing almost half a billion dollars in operating and capital budgets would be a large business on its own. 

However, unlike managing a business, where the CEO or owner can easily make all decisions, running our Town requires managing within the confines of ever-changing policies of provincial, regional, and federal governments.

One moment you are appreciating them, and the next pushing back when new rules make no sense for our Town. 

Managing in this environment where you can’t make all decisions needs superior influencing and consensus-building skills and, at times, great diplomacy.

It must be a bit like playing hockey, where the rink, puck shape or rules can change mid-game. 

To achieve 80% satisfaction in this ever-changing landscape broadly means we have the right culture and skills in our municipal employees, and to achieve that, a Mayor and Council whose leadership sets the highest standards.

However, 80% isn’t perfect, and I appreciated the opportunity this week to discuss as a citizen, with the Mayor and others, the next areas for improvement which are already identified and being worked on.

It is gratifying to know the journey to be the most livable town in Canada continues.