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An excerpt from that disgraceful Council meeting - how did this Council become so dysfunctional?

By Pepper Parr

July 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier in the month, June 21st, during a city council meeting, the Mayor and a member of Council went at it.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward taking part in a Council meeting on June 21st, virtually from London, Ontario where she was attending the university graduation of her daughter.

The Mayor, who has the right to revise a Council meeting agenda, decided that she was going to put an Integrity Commissioner matter at the top of the Agenda during which she expected Councillor Shawna Stole to read out an apology to a city staff member.

Stolte had already advised the Mayor that she would be making her agreed upon apology to Georgie Gartside, staff member with two decades of service, during the Councillor Comments part of the council meeting.

An item on the formal agenda is debatable, which would have permitted Council members to add their views. Councillors Nisan and Galbraith were the pair that took a complaint against Stolte to the Integrity Commissioner earlier in the year and resulted in the Commissioner recommending that she be docked five days pay.

Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of these two council members.

The facial expressions were revealing. Councillor Sharman didn’t say a word; Galbraith kept this expression on his face throughout most of the meeting, Nisan hid from the camera most of the time. Stolte is shown packing up her stuff and leaving her seat at the council table. Clerk Kevin Arjoon will tell his friends it was the most contentious meeting her was every involved in.

Know that Mayor Meed Ward was not in the Council Chamber, she was in London, Ontario attending her daughter’s university graduation.

The irony of all this is that on the 21st of June Councillor Stolte was the Deputy Mayor and filled in for Meed Ward when she had to leave the meeting.

A Council members Comments at the end of the meeting are not debatable.

Mayor Meed Ward used the lame excuse that Gartside wanted the item at the top of the agenda and not at the end so she would not have to listen to the full meeting to hear the apology that she took part in crafting and had approved.

That kind of behaviour gives the phrase “your pound of flesh” a whole new Better.

During the meeting we heard “point of order” and “point of personal privilege” being tossed around like horse shoes at a fall fair.

The Gazette has reported on this in the paste. We decide to take the time to excerpt the full discussion (it’s just shy of 14 minutes long) and ends with Councillor Stolte leaving her seat at the council table.

We didn’t cut a word.

We do have some comments following the video.

The video CLICK here

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9 comments to An excerpt from that disgraceful Council meeting – how did this Council become so dysfunctional?

  • Stephen White

    When you think of the myriad of complex, important issues this City needs to deal with the question really becomes: why is a personnel matter like this not being discussed “in camera” in a private, confidential forum? This is how any other professional organization would have handled this matter. Do we really need to wash this laundry in public? Couldn’t Councillor Stolte just issue her apology privately and be done with it? Do we really need to shame people this way?

    And right you are Sharon: we really do need to get some adults running for Council this October…or at the very least, some professionals with enough “smarts” and acumen to know how to prioritize.

    • Dave Turner

      Stephen, I do not disagree with you.

      Since Stolte had identified (tangentially, indirectly or whatever) Gartside publicly via the Gazette interview it would seem the agreement reached between Stolte, Gartside and the Integrity Commissioner to settle the matter called for a public apology by Stolte.

      Was the Council meeting an appropriate venue? Probably not. Maybe an apology published via the Gazette would have been more appropriate.

      Whose idea was it to have it made in the “councilor comments” item of the council meeting? If it was Stolte’s idea that would have been another bad judgement call and she would have deserved the all the publicity that has resulted.

      • Bob

        Quoted from an earlier article in the Gazette

        “Stolte chose to immediately apologize to Gartside which apparently was not enough for her. She filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner who took the position that the matter did not need to be investigated but also decided that Stolte should apologize publicly which Stolte agreed to do.

        Stolte advised the city Clerk, George Gartside and others that she would read out the apology that Gartside had seen before hand during the Councillor Comments part of a Council meeting.”

        Why is it you believe that it was a bad idea? The Integrety Commissioner had found it not worthy of an investigation. All it called for was a public apology which the Counciller had informed the clerk she would make. Simple solution to a simple problem. It was MMW who made it into more than it was.

  • Dave Turner

    All the councilors are politicians. OK, fourth tier politicians. But still politicians. So why should we be surprised at this type of behaviour. All politicians act this way – as spoiled little brats. They preach respect for others but do not practice what they preach. The Mayor and Stolte were the worst offenders. Kearns interrupted the Mayor without seeking to be recognized as having the floor. Nisan pretended to be helpful, but was surely quite the opposite.

  • Penny Hersh

    Sharon, I totally agree with you….Can you imagine doing this for the next 4 years if there are no major changes in the makeup of this council?

    • Sharon

      Let’s hope some mature responsible adults step up to run in the October election.
      If not Burlington is going to become a laughing spectacle.

    • Sharon

      Let’s hope we have some mature, responsible adults step up to run in the October election. If not Burlington is going to be a laughing spectacle.

  • I’m so glad Burlington has no pressing matters as a community that need attention and leadership thereby giving the mayor and council all the time they need to behave like scolded toddlers.

  • Sharon

    I can’t imagine what it’s like going to work every day for the last 4 years and having to deal with this.