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How not to succeed in politics

Posted on 18 December 2014

I thought I’d do a quick round-up of reaction to the news that former Prince George mayor Shari Green lost the bid to become the next Conservative candidate for Cariboo-Prince George.

Though the results aren’t being released officially, 250 News is reporting Green in last place with just 419 votes, coming behind the newcomer Nick Fedorkiw and well behind the thousand-plus votes given to winner Todd Doherty.

It’s a far cry from when she was first elected to council back in 2008, coming second to only perennial favourite Brian Skakun.

So what went wrong?

Over at 250 News, Ben Meisner points to the way her team handled her Conservative nomination process:

“From the taking over of the executive within the Riding Association, to the manner which the nomination  process was handled, it became apparent that each turn in the road  would become more difficult for Green to navigate.”

At the Free Press, Victor Bowman agrees:

“The mini-coup in taking over the constituency executive was not the best move. It lit the fire of resentment, which smoldered throughout the pre-vote period.”

Over at the Prince George Citizen, Neil Godbout goes back even further, placing the blame on how she conducted herself  at city hall. But he starts with a clarification:

“What follows is not an attack on Shari Green the person but a condemnation of Shari Green the politician. One of the reasons that distinction needs to be made clear is that Green never seemed to grasp the distinction between the two. To disagree with her politically was, more often than not, interpreted as a personal attack and she never seemed to forgive or forget the slights, real or imagined, large or small.”

He then delves into a seven-year-history of takeovers, freeze-outs, and refusing to talk to certain members of the media.

It may seem harsh, but let’s not forget it was less than a year ago that Green was apparently emailing citizens upset about snow removal with implications that the union might be at fault- all following a series of cuts and in the midst of the most heated contract negotiations with city staff in recent history. And her response when the Free Press asked her about this email?

“Green’s office told the Free Press that the mayor was too busy to grant an interview to confirm whether the e-mail was from her, but Green supplied the newspaper with the following e-mail response:

“‘During heated and lengthy contract negotiations, sometimes unions do what they can to disrupt the employer, and that should be no surprise to anyone in this case,’ Green said in her e-mail to the Free Press.

Mere weeks later it would be revealed that mismanagement and poor planning were largely to blame. An apology was not forthcoming.

I’ve no doubt Green did many things right. I even wrote about it on occasion. And let’s never forget that being a politician of any stripe is an exceedingly tough job. But you don’t go from mayor to third place without making a few missteps. And so with that in mind, Godbout’s assessment is worth considering:

“Her short political career is a parable of how not to succeed in politics.”

We’ll see who learns from it.

Filed under: Prince George

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