The making of a mayor

So you want to be the mayor of Red Deer? Lucky for you, since the opportunity will soon present itself. Mayor Morris Flewwelling has just seven more meetings before he saddles up and rides away (maybe literally since he is a bit of a gentleman cowboy) into retirement.

So you want to be the mayor of Red Deer?

Lucky for you, since the opportunity will soon present itself.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling has just seven more meetings before he saddles up and rides away (maybe literally since he is a bit of a gentleman cowboy) into retirement.

He has served Red Deer very well over the past three terms, since he first won the mayor’s chair in 2004, and for the previous several terms as a councillor.

His will be big shoes for anyone else to fill with the same amount of integrity, grit, intelligence and commitment to Red Deer.

There’s good reason why he was recently named one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture Magazine, judged on ability to shape opinion and action.

But now that we are getting to the close of his excellent run in municipal politics, it’s time to look ahead, to what Red Deer’s next mayor might look like.

Canadians have certainly seen some very public examples lately of the best and worst in mayors.

Here’s a checklist if you have a mind to run for mayor:

Firstly, you don’t have to be a rock star — but it does help.

Just ask the citizens of Calgary, who have the good fortune of having Naheed Nenshi for their mayor during a time of great misfortune.

If you didn’t know Calgary’s secret before the devastating flooding hit Calgary, you probably do now.

Nenshi has been everywhere, encouraging citizens to carry on, thanking emergency workers and everyone else for their efforts, and flipping a few pancakes, too, with the arrival of the Calgary Stampede. Citizens and media love him — because he’s an amazing leader.

In him, as well as in many good mayors, we will find most or all of these other qualities as well.

You put people and community ahead of politics any day anytime.

You show no favouritism.

You are nonpartisan but any political party would want you as a candidate.

You do not partake in scandalous behaviour but you do like to party.

You have great civic pride and you instill it in others.

You have the ability to win people’s trust.

You are smart, and you can answer most any question about your city.

You have warmth and a great sense of humour.

You inspire others and show great leadership through tough times.

You embrace multiculturalism.

You are compassionate and you can cry in public when it’s appropriate.

The media loves to quote everything you say and you create a buzz wherever you go.

You get social media.

You love to socialize and can relate to everyone, from the Queen to a pauper.

You never criticize except those who attack, endanger or insult your community.

You are a diplomat and expert at dispute resolution.

You have boundless energy.

You do not need sleep.

And finally, you are huggable like a teddy bear.

That’s all — if you think you are up to it, nomination day for municipal elections is Sept. 23.

Mary-Ann Barr is Advocate assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 403-314-4332.

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