Recently, I embarked on a 2300-KM tour across Alberta, visiting communities of elected officials who have appeared on my show. As part of my promise, I wanted to support these communities by spending tourism dollars locally. During this journey, I had the opportunity to visit numerous municipal offices, where I met with the unsung heroes of our communities—the administration staff.
These individuals, who send out our tax bills and man the reception desk, play a crucial role in addressing the needs and concerns of residents. They are the ones who tirelessly work behind the scenes, often unrecognized and under-appreciated. While we may know them by name, for me, they were strangers. Yet, as I entered their offices and asked questions, I was met with nothing but warmth and helpfulness.
My expectations were modest—I was simply looking for a lapel pin or two, seeking advice on local tourism hotspots, and perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of the council chambers. As a self-professed political oddity, I didn't know what to expect. However, what I discovered was a group of individuals who are truly the front lines of our municipal administration and who are as friendly as can be.
When I ask municipal politicians what makes their community unique, the resounding response is often, "It's the people." Well, my eight-day journey through various towns and cities reaffirmed this sentiment. The individuals who make up our town and city halls are fantastic. They are the unsung heroes we rarely thank, and we often miss the chance to express our gratitude in person. But we should.
These administration staff members are the face of our local government. They are the first people residents and tourists encounter when they walk into the council building. They aren't elected officials seeking glory; they are regular folks like you and me, wanting to do their jobs and help others in the process.
However, they are not immune to the challenges faced by the municipality. When politicians are attacked or slandered, they can often brush it off, but the administration staff cannot. They are expected to maintain professionalism and prioritize the best interests of the community, even in the face of adversity.
So, I ask you sincerely: when was the last time we thanked municipal staff for going above and beyond? Politicians, do you express your appreciation annually at the staff Christmas party or on a monthly basis?
It is high time we start acknowledging and thanking our administration for their tireless efforts, their perseverance in the face of hardship, and their dedication to serving both the people they work for and the community they serve.
During my journey, I had the pleasure of meeting administration staff in nearly 20 different communities. To the friendly staff in Banff, thank you for lifting my spirits and providing assistance. To the staff in Rocky Mountain House, thank you for going the extra mile to engage in conversation. To the great staff in Crowsnest Pass, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to help me learn more about your town. And to the confused staff member in Strathmore, I apologize if my request for a lapel pin on a Thursday morning was an inconvenience, but thank you for trying nonetheless.
I must extend a special thank you to the staff in Chestermere for the pens they kindly provided in leiu of lapel pins. And to the lone staff member in her first week of employment in the Village of Cowley, thank you for your dedication to serving your community.
We often express gratitude to politicians and elected officials for the work they do, but let us not forget the dedicated administration staff who make our communities great places to live, work, and raise families.
It is time to pause, reflect, and say, "Thank you" to these unsung heroes across Canada. They deserve our recognition, appreciation, and support for the vital role they play in our local governance.