This week's Summerland Council meeting is another example of why Janice Perrino could very well be the best mayor in the Okanagan Valley.
Perrino had requested a meeting with the South Okanagan Ministry of Child and Family Development to explain the changes in service to families in need within Summerland.
It appeared that Summerland was being screwed and Perrino demanded to know why. She always puts Summerland first, well ahead of her own personal agendas, ego or political aspirations.
Now in her fifth year as Summerland's mayor, the former councillor got off to a slightly rocky start early in 2009. It proved to be a blip in the road as since then she's done a remarkable job of guiding the district through challenging times.
There have been upgrades to road projects and some new business has come to the municipality, including industrial. The new RCMP detachment was built (which overall is a good thing) and she attempts to remove as many roadblocks as possible to encourage growth and development.
Like most Okanagan mayors, Perrino is visible within the community. The fact Summerland supported a Bully-free movement was a great step. It won't solve the issue overnight but at least they're recognizing the impact bullying makes on children and teens.
To the residents of Summerland she's simply known as "Janice", the Okanagan's answer to Cher or Bono (no last name required). Her popularity was evident in that she went uncontested in the 2011 municipal election.
Perhaps most impressive is Perrino seldom attempts to sugar coat anything. When staff foolishly removed mementos from gravestones at the cemetery, she publicly blasted those responsible and apologized to bereaved families stating she understood all-too-well having recently lost a parent and a sibling. When a water advisory was issued abruptly this past holiday season, she admitted fault and apologized. At the same time, when staff performs above expectations, she's the first to publicly acknowledge them.
Perrino is straightforward, energetic, organized, goal-oriented and good about consulting with people. She basically works two full-time jobs (her day job is as a professional fundraiser) and yet possesses tremendous people skills and extreme optimism.
Perrino could be more valuable to the region than to Summerland. If anybody is capable of persuading the provincial government (whether it's an NDP or Liberal government) that Penticton is in desperate need of a hospital expansion, it's Janice Perrino.