Since mid-May you may have noticed a couple differences with this blog. If nothing else, my lack of reaction to the LRT decision may have had you scratching your head. My frequency of publishing was lower than usual and I didn’t comment on some topics that fit into my natural range of topics.
Those who know me well know that these changes were the result of taking a short contract position in the City of Kitchener’s Communications and Marketing division. I didn’t publicize this fact because I continued to run my own business and since it is my long term source of income I wanted to be able to continue to build my business, serve my clients and find new ones–without starting from scratch again without any confusion.
By taking this position, I understood that I would not be able to comment on local municipal issues. It would not have been professional for me to do since my role was to help the city communicate its position on issues and promote its services.
The different range of topics wasn’t a problem because there’s a huge number of things to talk about that help to make the world a better place starting with a better Kitchener that don’t involve municipal issues. This blog has always been about more than politics anyhow. But essentially having two jobs did affect my frequency! This is a long-winded way of saying you should see more posts from over the coming weeks and months including some on municipal issues.
Inside city hall
If you’ve made it this far or skipped the intro, you are probably thinking, “Ya, ya, ya enough about James Howe. Spill the dirt! What did you learn on the inside that we should know?”
Sorry, I’ve got nothing. If there is a closet full of skeletons, I wasn’t given a key. If there’s a magical carpet under which are swept all the scandals, I wasn’t shown where or how to find it. When I took the position, I joked that I would start a new blog called “Perspectives from Inside City Hall” so I couldn’t resist using that as the title of this post.
What I found inside city hall were staff that worked very hard to fulfill their mandate to serve the best interests of the people of Kitchener. They are dedicated to doing their best even though they must often work with limited resources to achieve the desired results. It actually reminded me in many ways of the challenges faced by the charities, non-profits and small businesses that I normally help communicate.
Is there room for improvement? Of course! And we should all continue to make our voices heard to try to make it better. But overall from my short stint there, I think that Kitchener is well-served by its municipal government.
What did I do?
I enjoyed working in the city’s communications and marketing division. I believe I left my personal imprint on the projects that I was responsible for communicating. In the interest of disclosure, a partial list of what I worked on included:
- Kitchener Golf – promoting Doon Valley Golf Course (including its new pitch and putt and Classic 9 course) and Rockway Golf Course
- Backyard pool safety
- Kitchener in Bloom
- the first draft of the city’s new Official plan that is currently accepting feedback
- a variety of programs for children and youth
- Community Environment Improvement Grant – that offers grants of up to $3000 to grassroots environmental projects
- Festival of Neighbourhoods
- and one project that I can’t mention–yet.