A Chain of Office is intended to be worn by the Chief Elected Official as per tradition and policy, and is meant to be a point of pride for the entirety of a council. It symbolizes the heavy burden of office that a mayor may have being a leader duly elected by the people and the Chain symbolizes this by being placed directly on their shoulders by the citizens of the community. “As council is aware, every year the budget allows for the purchase of promotional items,” began Communications and Project Coordinator Meghan Brennan. “This year we did not need to purchase as many promotional items, so we had enough budget to use to increase the town’s level of professionalism and to update our ceremonial protocols as we have been doing for the past couple of years.” Brennan pointed out at the town’s regular meeting on Sept. 27 how the town has been accepting more dignitaries and has been having events of a more ceremonial nature. “Administration believed it would be a good time to have a Chain our municipality can be proud of. The history of the Chain of Office date back to the 14th century and many Canadian municipalities follow the practice as part of the British and Commonwealth tradition. This meets council's strategic goals in defining and practising good governance, as well as enhancing the sense of community. This Chain is meant to be a point of pride for the community and as a symbol of the history that has come before us and the future of our community that has yet to come.” There will be a clear list of protocols around the Chain. The cost was $2,613.42 and was already a budgeted line in the operational budget. “Was this then done without council’s approval?” asked Coun. Garth Bekkering. “It was done through the operational budget which council approved, but council did not initiate the purchase of the Chain of Office,” replied Brennan. It was then identified that within the policy that administration has done extensive research on other Chains of Office throughout Europe and some of the ones found within Alberta. The Chain is to be specifically ceremonial. It can be worn when ambassadors come or doing ceremonial events like the Volunteer Recognition Banquet. However, a parade would not be considered an event where the Chain would be worn. “I do appreciate the time and effort that went into this,” began Coun. Joe Strojwas. “But, it would have been nice if council was in the loop on this. It’s definitely an item that I think the mayor should have been aware of, so I’m slightly disappointed.” “I think you did a very lovely job and it’s nice to have that tradition. Kudos for doing it and I would have voted in favour,” noted Coun. Jack Brewin. Coun. Carly Firth then initiated a motion to accept the Chain of Office as presented. This motion passed, but not unanimously. Mayor Anrew Prokop, Coun. Brewin, Bekkering and Firth voted in favour while Coun. Strojwas and Mark Garner voted against the motion.
Kenyon Stronski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times