Arnold questions Chambers guests at State of the County event


St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold is questioning why administrators will be answering questions during an event that is billed as a State of the County address.
Each year, the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce hosts a luncheon where elected officials from a number of municipalities and the county’s warden, speak about the issues facing the community. This year, the elected officials are sitting on the sidelines while the top administrators from the City of Sarnia, Lambton County, Petrolia and Point Edward and Warwick speak. The chamber’s website bills County CAO Ron VanHorne’s address saying “VanHorne is resolved to make Lambton County a caring, growing and innovative community and will outline the top priorities of 2017/18 in his State of the County Address.”
Arnold was “quite surprised” by the idea. “I always thought it would be my warden to speak on behalf of the warden and county council…Maybe everyone else thinks that it is a great idea, but I don’t. I get accused of micromanaging …but to me, the warden of the county speaks for the county.
“If we get to the spot where the staff can predict what happens in 2018, I may as well stay home. If that concept has changed, it is our fault.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley also expressed his concern saying the event puts staff in a position of being political. “It’s putting them in this position and it is not fair to them.”
VanHorne told councillors when he was approached to be on the panel with other administrators it was to be a question and answer period “not a state of the union which is now being billed…  it was to be basically administrative in nature.”
The Nov. 3 event is ticketed with sponsors buying tables for between $250 and $1,000.