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Council member explains why he's running for a fourth term

Coun. Norman Mann's time on Elliot Lake City Council span three terms, so far
Norman Mann
Council member Norman Mann chairing a committee meeting

Coun. Norman Mann's time on Elliot Lake City Council span three terms, and he's seeking re-election for a fourth on Oct. 24. 

On this council he has chaired the finance and administration committee and the ad hoc budget committee, also serving on the by-law and planning and public service committees.

Mann also sits on the Algoma District Services and Administration board (ADSAB), Elliot Lake and North Shore Corporation for Business Development (ELNOS), Elliot Lake Retirement Living and the Mt. Dufour Ski Hill.

We asked him about his decision to run.

ElliotLakeToday: What has prompted your decision to run for re-election? 

Mann: My reasons for seeking re-election to Elliot Lake City Council remain the same as in previous elections.  I want to ensure Elliot Lake remains a viable option for my children to return to after their post-secondary educations find a career in their chosen fields and raise their own families.

ElliotLakeToday: Do you favour any changes to the voting process?  Can you see any advantages or pitfalls by making changes to e-voting or other methods?  i.e. nomination, registration, ballot voting, campaign reporting, fees, training requirements, etc.? 

Mann: I would support any change that would make it easier for more residents to vote. We have seen a trend towards a decrease in voting day turnout. We must ensure that there are more options available to ensure for more residents to be heard through the election process.

ElliotLakeToday: What qualities, attitudes, experience or aspirations should the voters look for when they examine the field of 21 candidates registered to run in the municipal election? 

Mann: I strongly believe that all candidates seek office for the right reasons. They have the best interests of their respective communities in mind.  

Yes, we may have different motivations for running but in the end we want what is best for the community we wish to represent. 

Having said that I believe that have experience certainly help with the role of municipal government.  

Having a strong financial background is also very important. In Elliot Lake we deal with multi-million dollar budgets on an annual basis. Councillors must be able to make difficult decisions in the best interest of the community on a regular basis and put aside our personal beliefs as we must represent the entire community. 

Elected officials must be active listeners and be able to hear what the residents are telling us about topics that are important to them.  These are all qualities that I possess and will use to represent all the Residents of Elliot Lake.

ElliotLakeToday: In light of ongoing turmoil relating to the Integrity Commissioner (IC) process, and other front burner issues, how do you feel about the effectiveness of current training requirements for newly-elected councillors?

Mann: The current training available for elected officials delivers the minimum provincial requirements. Elected officials must on a regular basis review and continue to be familiar with the rules set out by the province in the (Ontario) Municipal Act.

ElliotLakeToday: Much has been made in the election campaign about transparency and communication with the voters by city council.

Do you feel any changes need to be made in the current Elliot Lake City Council committee system? ie. selection process, makeup, remuneration, accessibility, responsibilities? 

Mann: Council must continue to strive for openness as much as possible. There will always be situations that must be discussed in closed session however this council has not unnecessarily gone “in camera” to closed to discuss matters that should have been discussed openly.

City council responsibilities are shared equally amongst all members. I have no concerns with the selection process. Each member provides their requests in advance to the mayor and in turn the mayor will discuss their selection prior to all appointments.

ElliotLakeToday: Although council hasn't had a wage review since 2017, should remuneration for our elected leaders be looked at again by the new council after the Oct. 24 election? 

Mann: A review of council remuneration should be the decision of any new council if they choose to review or not.  

Personally I do not sit on council for the remuneration but to assist make Elliot Lake a better place. In the end the majority of any council will make the decision or not.

ElliotLakeToday: Aside from election issues, how would you describe the experience of serving on council in this period of COVID-19 as compared with other times?

Mann: Besides the obvious lack of in-person meetings all required work was completed and we were still able to conduct all city business without interruption.  

In terms of health and safety of others during a very difficult time it was very easy to us the Zoom option in order to still keep meeting.

ElliotLakeToday: Use and collection of city reserve funds, the possibility of increasing taxes to fund city operations and even references to service cuts have all been up for discussion in various local forums lately.

In your opinion, are these discussions based on over-blown or misguided concerns or are they simply a reflection of community concern over Elliot Lake's fiscal future?

Mann: Financial management of the city’s resources should always be one of the largest roles for any member of council. 

There will always be many different views on a community’s health. As budget chair I will answer in the following manner. I always have and always will provide strong financial management of municipal dollars both for operations and reserves.  

We must balance our current needs with an eye on the future. We are in a better financial situation now than in the past but that level of comfort could easily change with another significant event. Spend only what we need to and always save some for a rainy day. 


About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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