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Black on municipal engineer’s shift to Colwood council

November 18, 2018
Victoria Times Colonist
Article Source: Read the Original Article

School of Communication and Culture Assoc. Prof. David Black was interviewed by the Victoria Times Colonist about a former city employee’s Colwood council seat win.

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.