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Shawn Pankow Takes on New Role, Sets Goals for 2015

Shawn Pankow, Mayor of smiths fal

by Amy Hogue

With one term of council under his belt, Smiths Falls Mayor-elect Shawn Pankow is ready to take the final step he’s been preparing for since August – into the role of Mayor of Smiths Falls.

On Dec. 1, Pankow will officially take the reins from current Mayor, Dennis Staples, who has been a fixture at Town Hall for nearly thirty years, and will be a difficult act to follow. A new mayor marks a big change for the town, but Pankow said feedback from the community following his election to mayor has been “incredibly positive.”

“People are excited,” Pankow said. “They’re very hopeful for the future in Smiths Falls…they expect that I, along with Council, will be the impetus of change in Smiths Falls.”

The new position of Mayor will be one that also requires some personal adjustments for Pankow, who operates his own business, Pankow Financial Solutions, as well as juggling the needs of his family – a wife, three young children, and four adult children.

Undaunted, Pankow said he recognizes it will take some adjustment to the expectations of his new office, but is fortunate to be self-employed, which allows him to balance his work schedule with his new role in the town. He stressed that time management will be the most important key to a successful integration, and he will be joining the ranks of the mayors of neighbouring municipalities who also operate full-time jobs.

“It will definitely create some challenges with free time. My family and I will need to create balance to ensure I still have time for family and community responsibilities,” Pankow acknowledged, but added that many of the social obligations don’t have to fall solely on the mayor’s shoulders, noting that “all of council can share in some of the community work.”

Work Ahead

Finally in a position to effect some change in the direction Smiths Falls is heading, Pankow is eager to get started. First on his radar is the 2015 budget and surmounting upcoming financial challenges, an issue Pankow pointed out also formed the basis of most political candidates campaigns. Although Pankow noted the municipality will be limited in what can be done with the 2015 budget, a long term strategic financial plan can help lay the groundwork for instrumental changes to the 2016 budget and beyond.

Pankow proposes undertaking a gap analysis to determine the shortfall between revenue and necessary expenditures. When considering what constitutes a necessary expenditure, Pankow said he sees investment in the community as a need, not a want, something that is necessary to drive growth and expand the tax base.

Pankow hopes to have the strategic plan completed by mid-year 2015, and to accelerate the service review in areas that could affect the 2015 budget. He plans on looking at finding efficiencies in every area of the municipality, even if that means taking a closer look at emergency services.

“Some services we provide are at a high cost compared to other municipalities,” he said. “We need to determine why and what we can do about it.”

Pankow said he doesn’t believe the current status quo is sustainable, and noted that “if emergency services are consuming half of every tax dollar that comes in, we need to figure out how to do that more efficiently.”

The inaugural ceremony for the new council and mayor will take place at Town Hall on Dec. 1.

 

 

 

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Shawn Pankow Takes on New Role, Sets Goals for 2015

Shawn Pankow, Mayor of smiths fal

by Amy Hogue

With one term of council under his belt, Smiths Falls Mayor-elect Shawn Pankow is ready to take the final step he’s been preparing for since August – into the role of Mayor of Smiths Falls.

On Dec. 1, Pankow will officially take the reins from current Mayor, Dennis Staples, who has been a fixture at Town Hall for nearly thirty years, and will be a difficult act to follow. A new mayor marks a big change for the town, but Pankow said feedback from the community following his election to mayor has been “incredibly positive.”

“People are excited,” Pankow said. “They’re very hopeful for the future in Smiths Falls…they expect that I, along with Council, will be the impetus of change in Smiths Falls.”

The new position of Mayor will be one that also requires some personal adjustments for Pankow, who operates his own business, Pankow Financial Solutions, as well as juggling the needs of his family – a wife, three young children, and four adult children.

Undaunted, Pankow said he recognizes it will take some adjustment to the expectations of his new office, but is fortunate to be self-employed, which allows him to balance his work schedule with his new role in the town. He stressed that time management will be the most important key to a successful integration, and he will be joining the ranks of the mayors of neighbouring municipalities who also operate full-time jobs.

“It will definitely create some challenges with free time. My family and I will need to create balance to ensure I still have time for family and community responsibilities,” Pankow acknowledged, but added that many of the social obligations don’t have to fall solely on the mayor’s shoulders, noting that “all of council can share in some of the community work.”

Work Ahead

Finally in a position to effect some change in the direction Smiths Falls is heading, Pankow is eager to get started. First on his radar is the 2015 budget and surmounting upcoming financial challenges, an issue Pankow pointed out also formed the basis of most political candidates campaigns. Although Pankow noted the municipality will be limited in what can be done with the 2015 budget, a long term strategic financial plan can help lay the groundwork for instrumental changes to the 2016 budget and beyond.

Pankow proposes undertaking a gap analysis to determine the shortfall between revenue and necessary expenditures. When considering what constitutes a necessary expenditure, Pankow said he sees investment in the community as a need, not a want, something that is necessary to drive growth and expand the tax base.

Pankow hopes to have the strategic plan completed by mid-year 2015, and to accelerate the service review in areas that could affect the 2015 budget. He plans on looking at finding efficiencies in every area of the municipality, even if that means taking a closer look at emergency services.

“Some services we provide are at a high cost compared to other municipalities,” he said. “We need to determine why and what we can do about it.”

Pankow said he doesn’t believe the current status quo is sustainable, and noted that “if emergency services are consuming half of every tax dollar that comes in, we need to figure out how to do that more efficiently.”

The inaugural ceremony for the new council and mayor will take place at Town Hall on Dec. 1.

 

 

 

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