How encouraging it must have been for the organisers of this event, to see so many people attend. Many made the effort to arrive before 6.30 pm, including two of the mayoral candidates. The theatre gradually filled, with standing room only. By 7 pm, the meeting still had not started, with no explanation given as to when something would be happening; where was the transparency? Eventually the meeting was called to order. Promising start, with an explanation of what the audience could expect during the meeting. First the audience heard timed presentations from each of the candidates. It must have been obvious to most of the audience that one candidate was very rehearsed, one candidate was full of himself, one candidate was full of enthusiasm and one candidate was anxious to prove he was capable of performing the duties required of a mayor. Then the disappointment began. The audience was invited to ask their questions and each mayoral candidate could reply. Because the facilitator did not take control of the timing each candidate was allowed to reply, we heard the same dribble for one candidate, the same official response from one candidate, the enthusiastic response from one candidate who actually made an effort to answer the question, and one candidate who tried to please everyone with the answer given. By 8.25 pm, despite calls from the audience and suggestion from one of the mayoral candidates, the facilitator refused to change the format of the evening which could have allowed more questions to be asked and answered from the audience and answered by the candidates. At that point I decided to walk out as it was obvious that the audience was becoming frustrated and little would be achieved for the next however long the meeting would last. As the facilitator told the audience, the main point of the evening was for individuals to listen to each mayoral candidate to hear their approach to whatever problems they would incur during their time as mayor of the community. I had already made up my mind.
I hope lessons have been learnt from this meeting as it could have been so much more positive for everyone.
Rita & Bill White