Citizen revises Strong Mayor Powers to Wrong Mayor Powers

By Pepper Parr

April 21st, 2021


Public attendance at City Council meetings is getting better.

Mayor Meed Ward tells the audience that she is delighted to see so many people at the meeting.

Attendance at Council meetings is getting better.

Two issues draw an audience these days: The Strong Mayor powers and the Better Burlington Speaker series the Mayor announced she plans to host.

We don’t recall hearing a delegation take to the podium to support either issue.

Colloquially referred to as the Red Queen with Strong Mayor powers some want to change that to Wrong Mayor Powers

What does happen with many of those in the Council Chamber when there is a break in the proceedings is interesting.  They share their views and a kind of black humour takes over.

There was a Councillor who was mixing with the public who had some surprisingly strong comments about the level of trust between the Council members.

One particularly good delegator found a way to revise Strong Mayor powers to Wrong Mayor Powers.  That one is right up there with “the Red Queen” – a phrase used by some of the people who worked on the Mayor’s 2018 election campaign that resulted in her wearing the Chain of Office.

Public dissent is part of the democratic process.

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5 comments to Citizen revises Strong Mayor Powers to Wrong Mayor Powers

  • Syd

    I always look forward to the contribution and the comments of you two. I know little of the protocol involved in dealing with the City or the “legal and integrity issues” you cite (my bad). I appreciate you being “watchdogs” and keeping us educated and informed through your regular comments to the Gazette. Special thanks to you and Lynn Crosby for delegating on behalf of City residents concerned with the strong Mayor powers. Thanks also to the Councillors who spoke up.

    In my opinion, a strong mayor does not need Doug Ford to give her power. She builds it for herself with a transparent, productive and inclusive working relationship with City staff, elected officials and voters where all are pursuing the same goals on behalf of Burlington’s future. Most importantly, the wielding of this power should be based on attaining the goals the mayor stated in her election campaign.

    And an aside on the same point, I prefer to be thought of as an employer of the people at City Hall, including the mayor, rather than a “client” of them – it is an important distinction.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Lynn Crosby

      Thank you for your kind words, Syd! I will never accept that there is any excuse – not from the Mayor, from Councillor Sharman, from Councillor Bentivegna or anyone at all – to accept that strong mayor powers are acceptable, and I plan to keep saying so. As all three of them essentially said “well I’m all for democracy, but …” – I and others in the gallery were saying to each other “there is no BUT after that!”

      If anyone wants to see how Oakville sees this issue – check out this February 2023 article where council voted unanimously against the use of strong mayor powers and said nope we don’t want them, and we don’t need them.

      Mayor Burton said: ““I will continue to serve as a mayor who wants to be known for collaboration and teamwork. There is simply no other way to accomplish anything for our residents.” The mayor noted he is guided by the old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.””

      This could have been Burlington’s stance too.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Thanks for those kind words Syd.

  • Renato Revocci

    local political reps for the city have forgotten that they are elected by the Burlington tax payers and paid by the Burlington tax payers. Instead they have shown no respect for our residents.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Renato, you have repeated the position of almost 700 members of the community several of whom took this position at the lectern over the last few weeks. As Councillor Nisan stated “one is a very lonely number” referencing the only public comment before council, the last one in place at the time, that supported the Mayor’s position. Further, delegate Lynn Crosby confirmed there was no petition she was aware of that supported Strong Mayor Powers.

      We have been working on getting a transcript of the relevant parts of the April 16, 2024 so we can address, as long term (since the 90’s) experienced and well appreciated/referenced, legislation compliance auditors, the significant legal and integrity issues we have with some of the Mayor’s actions at the April 16, 2024 Council meeting. Such audits are very time consuming and tedious but we are persevering and are at least hour number 15 invested. At least two of these issues saw the Mayor fail to address matters she put on the record she had issue with at thewrong time in the agenda.

      She had no questions of clarification or indeed on anything at all immediately after our delegation (she never does), when we could respond to her questions of clarification which is what she tells councillors they must do. Instead she addressed our delegation in response to Councillor Stolte withdrawing her support for the Mayor series. Councillor Stolte clearly did not base her decision to withdraw her support, on our delegation or indeed anything other than her own research.

      Further the Mayor failed to check for speakers before making judgment on the first point of privilege and she disallowed Councillor Bentivegna from speaking on the second point of privilege claiming there was no debate when she had clearly read into the record debate was allowed on the point of privilege but not on the appeal. The only debate not allowed on the point of privilege was if it did not pertain to the point of privilege.

      We believe the City Solicitor should have been at the Council table as he was previously during the discussion on this democracy issue. If he was there, we believe, at least one Councillor may well have asked the question:

      “Is there any legislation in municipal, provincial or Canadian law that allows the Mayor to be her own judge?”

      Particularly, when at least three councillors believed she was making accusations of matters that affected the integrity of hundreds of her constituents and the majority of councillors. Surely she should have had to pass the gavel of the Chair!!!

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