Wanted: someone to help Jason Farr spend $1M

The Ward 2 participatory budgeting process didn't always go smoothly the first year, but Coun. Jason Farr is doing it again, and is looking for someone to facilitate it.
Coun. Jason Farr is hiring a facilitator for his second year of participatory budgeting. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Does this sound like you?

You’re an ace marketer with experience in special events and the electoral process. You can manage “divisive issues” and have diplomacy, "adaptability and discretion." You are a natural leader with sound judgment, and you know what participatory budgeting is.

Those are the qualifications Coun. Jason Farr is looking for to help him spend $1 million in tax dollars in his ward.

Farr is searching for a facilitator for his second year of participatory budgeting, which is a process where residents submit ideas for how to spend $1 million in capital area rating dollars, and then vote on which ideas they like best.

Farr, who represents Ward 2, issued the call for the paid position on Thursday.

The first year of participatory budgeting didn’t always go smoothly. Voters chose 21 projects, but two — a more accessible set of stairs and ramp at the Victoria Street South access to the Escarpment Rail Trail, and 10 solar-powered trash compactors — may have to be scaled back.

Two trash compactors will be implemented as a pilot project to see what it costs to operate them, Farr said. And city staff are investigating legal matters around the ramp, such as whether it encroaches on CN land.

Farr and Norm Kearney, the project’s founder and first facilitator, also butted heads in the local media, most recently over whether Farr followed his own terms of reference in making changes to the process.

“I don’t think anyone expected it was going to go off without a hitch or two,” Farr said. “I had stated from the beginning that we’d have to tweak it as we went and make adjustments as we go. Personally, I learned a great deal from the experience and will try to go at it again.”

Here are some of the qualifications for the next facilitator:

  • Successfully completed two years of a post-secondary education program or a combination of education, training and relevant experience.
  • Experience in the administration of electoral processes, participating in community-based organizations and leading an organization, as well as marketing, special events, human resources and financial and office management.
  • Knowledge of participatory budgeting, computer skills, hiring and training personnel, “diplomacy, reliability, adaptability and discretion” and the ability to “manage and resolve divisive issues.” 

Resumes should be sent to jason.farr@hamilton.ca by Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.


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