‘Well THAT was exciting …

But nothing more than a whirl really.

But, it would have been nice.  Sigh.

Oh well – back to the knitting.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON January 12, 2011  –  That whirlwind romance with the big guy on the football team is behind us now and the mayor, having adjusted his glasses and fixed his hair says “we’ve put that behind us”.  “We knew it was a long shot going in but it was worth taking a look at and we learned something about ourselves as a community.”  And that was enough for our Mayor.  Now he returns to the real world and looks at the issues in front of him.  There looking at him, a little more worn for wear, is the Pier.

Nothing much has changed and the bonding company has not sent the city a cheque nor have they said yet what they are going to do.  “We will be pushing quite a bit harder now that the holidays are behind us” said the Mayor, adding “I’m not happy with where things are.”  This problem is going to get resolved.  “It will come in over budget” said the Mayor but “that Pier will get completed”.  And if you recall his statement during the election campaign” “An arm, maybe – but not an arm and a leg.”  Expect this man to be fair but to also be very firm.

With the Pier a drama going on in the background the Mayor is focused on moving forward with the development of the Strategic Plan and then on to the budget.  We will see the Capital Expense budget around the middle of February and the Operating Budget shortly after.  Setting down specific dates was proving to be just a little difficult because Ward 3 council member John Taylor is going to be away for a week in February and this council isn’t about to even attempt to pass a budget without Taylor at the table.

The development of the Strategic Plan is going to take a bit of a twist this year.  Mayor Goldring has kept in touch with Oakville’s Mayor Burton.  The two exchange ideas frequently and when Goldring learned of a professor at McMaster who does excellent work with groups setting out their priorities and figuring out how to best handle and manage the conflicting demands being made on a civic government the Mayor decided to invite Dr, Chris Bart to take part in an all day workshop scheduled for Thursday, January 20th at the Paletta Mansion on Lakeshore Road.  All city staff from Director level and up will take part in the session.

The decision to bring in an outside to guide staff through a workshop exercise was the Mayor’s initiative. (Ed note: Having taken courses from Dr. Bart in the past I can tell you that staff is going to work with one of the best in this field.)  In his discussion about the workshop session the Mayor explained that Bart teaches people how to better engage with one another and to appreciate the strengths and responsibilities that each brings to the table.  The city will get real value for whatever they pay.

Strategic Plan is followed by budget and the city is in pretty good shape.  There was a surplus in 2009 and there will be a surplus in 2010 as well.  Surplus monies get used for specific projects – the Land acquisition fund being one and money for the hospital as well.

The General Brock land acquisition hasn’t been paid for yet and the Mayor let slip that there are some problems with that acquisition.

On balance our Mayor was feeling pretty good about the job he is doing with less than 90 days at his new desk.  Asked if there was anything that he’d do differently – he responded:  “I’ll pay attention to everything now.  It was just a little thing, an administrative matter and I saw no problem but the council member pay raise blew up in our faces and we just weren’t ready for it.  The optics were terrible” he said. I made a mistake – Big Time” said an exasperated sounding Mayor.  The pay matter has been deferred, which means that the decision to give the council members the amount that a Citizen’s Committee decided they should get, will be made at a later date – sometime in March when the budget is made final.

So there you have it – the rookie Mayor has settled into the job and has a council that is learning to work together.  The Mayor is using all the smart management tools to create a better bond between council and staff to guide and direct a city that is financially sound. Too early to issue a report card – but the kid hasn’t been sent out of the class for misbehaving and while there has been some public rumbling over what are really minor issues it would seem that the taxpayers are getting value for their money – so far

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