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Black on municipal engineer’s shift to Colwood council
Councillor Michael Baxter retired as the city’s municipal engineer in 2016.
Here is an excerpt:
“In municipal politics, a group of ‘gifted amateurs, not political professionals,’ are making decisions on complex matters such as infrastructure, said David Black, a communication expert at Royal Roads University.
“‘So if you look at costs and benefits of city staff moving over to the political side, we can allow that a city engineer or CAO has knowledge that can translate into real political effectiveness,’ he said.
“‘He or she can address policy matters, which are often infrastructure-based, with a degree of literacy that most councillors struggle to find in their four-year terms. […]
“‘Every city staffer is a potential councillor in waiting. The ability to translate technical knowledge … into political knowledge is just too tempting.’”
This story first appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist.