Job established to get more info to public: Morse

Kathy Morse

Kathy Morse

Kathy Morse, Mission’s new communications officer, breaks into a grin as she displays her new “Blackberry” — a clipboard of lined paper and a pen.

Her remark is meant more to break the ice than poke fun at the fact that the district’s new specialist in communications and social media hasn’t yet been provided a smartphone, or an office for that matter.

But the former mayor and lifetime resident of Maple Ridge is taking things slow. There’s no municipal Twitter account or Facebook page yet, and she hasn’t made any sweeping changes in the first two weeks of her contentious position.

She says that’s because she’s spent the time gathering information and consulting with people, to let them know that communication is the basis of change.

“For me, the critical thing is relationship building,” she says, adding her job is help the public, not council.

There has been controversy surrounding the appointment, a decision made during an in-camera council meeting, which some critics argue is council’s means of creating a public relations campaign to gloss over the negative aspects of the past three years.

Morse said she doesn’t know about the politics surrounding her appointment, and it doesn’t concern her.

“It speaks, in and of itself, of how things are being communicated,” she says while stressing people have focused on the position instead of the process being undertaken. The key function to that process is getting more information into public hands.

“You have six months to create value,” she says, adding that if at the end of that time there isn’t a public perception of a necessity for the position, she expects it won’t be renewed.

Morse has worked in theatre, as a flight instructor, a broadcaster with CKNW, a councillor and mayor in Maple Ridge, and has run her own strategic communications company for six years. The constant throughout has been her skill as a people person.

She intends to use that skill to help the public better understand what’s going on in their town.

“I call it people speak,” she says, explaining it can be frustrating, or even disrespectful, to provide information to people they can’t understand.

But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, she adds quickly, praising how many departments have been able to provide information without formal communications training.

One of her priorities is to try and connect with the estimated 40 per cent of the population under 35 years of age, who are used to being able to find data online quickly.

Her experience in municipal government has also helped her slip into the new role comfortably, though she describes her memory of being in politics as a lifetime ago.

So far, Morse has spoken to the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce, and intends to go to the upcoming meeting on water meters Sept. 24 at Silverdale Hall. It’s all a part of building those critical relationships in the community.

Still, she knows pleasing everybody won’t be possible, regardless of her actions.

“Will I be perfect? No. I’m not perfect and neither is anybody else.”

Just Posted

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read