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July 27, 2020, 10:05 am

City of Delta Launches New Citizen Advocate Role

City of Delta
DELTA - As part of Delta's ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, the City is introducing a new Citizen Advocate role. The Citizen Advocate will act as a mediator for public complaints and disputes related to City matters or decisions made at the staff level including: development applications, building permits, tree cutting applications, highway use permits, and other matters.

“As part of my election platform, I committed to improving customer service, particularly related to the building permit and development application process" said Mayor George Harvie. "This work began right away with the establishment of the Mayor’s Task Force on Building Permits and Development Applications, which has provided advice on some excellent initiatives to improve our processes. The new Citizen Advocate is another step on our path of continual improvement. I hope the community will find this position valuable in helping work through any challenges that arise during an application process or in other dealings with the City where an impartial review of a situation is needed.”

Similar to an internal ombudsperson, Delta’s Citizen Advocate will hear complaints from citizens and provide a secondary opportunity to review their concerns.

“The creation of our Citizen Advocate position sets a new standard in promoting responsible and impartial conduct across the City," said City Manager Sean McGill.  "This role is intended to be an independent, effective agent of positive change at the City as part of our ongoing efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability at City Hall. We want to ensure stakeholders’ concerns are being addressed in an appropriate, quick, and fair manner.”

An existing senior staff member, Mr. Arvind Sharma, has been appointed to the new Citizen Advocate role. Mr. Sharma is empowered in this impartial position to facilitate independent reviews and in this part of his duties will report directly to the City Manager, providing quick and actionable resolutions.

It is important to note that Delta’s Citizen Advocate does not have the authority to override bylaws or cancel tickets or bylaw notices issued by the City – there is a separate adjudication process for these matters. In addition, the Citizen Advocate will not investigate matters or complaints relating to a decision of Delta Council or set public policy, but makes recommendations to ensure administrative fairness, transparency and accountability at the City of Delta.

This new role represents one of the recommendations made late last year by the Mayor’s Task Force on Building Permits and Development Applications as part of City’s efforts to improve overall customer experience at Delta City Hall.

For more information on this news release, contact the City Manager’s Office by phone at 604-946-3212 or e-mail CityManager@delta.ca.


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