Councillor gets a 'bum steer' from staff as she is learning to do her job.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 19th, 2020



During the very difficult meeting at which the Audit Committee discussed the report the auditor had prepared on what wasn’t working with the CRM system the city had decided to install, Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns said she asked staff what she had to do to be a good city councillor.

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns. Wanted to be a good Councillor – staff didn’t help.

This was very shortly after she had been sworn in.

Kearns reported that the senior people she spoke with told her she should trust staff and work with them.

Staff mislead the new Councillor; whether knowingly is for them to determine.

What Staff should have said to the new city Councillor was:

Hold us accountable.

That began to happen Wednesday of last week when Lisa Kearns and Paul Sharman asked some very hard and pointed questions about what had gone wrong with the Customer Relations Management system.

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5 comments to Councillor gets a ‘bum steer’ from staff as she is learning to do her job.

  • Tom Muir

    This is really a telling story about City Hall and the staff who are in charge.

    There was no apparent direction leadership of a management plan going in – I still don’t really know what the CRM was to do for the front-line staff supposed to handle the ongoing and continuing every day requests and demands of the “customers”.

    No one at City seems to realize that these demands to be met are arising spontaneously and continuously, every day and more, like a factory line spitting in parts to assemble into a final output form.

    Councilor Sharman was unable to get an answer to this basic question of start-up from staff. Councilor Kearns is in the same boat. They were refused in this request. So who is in charge of the City?

    And now that the system has flopped, there is again no fix-it management plan that responsible staff say they will make available to the Chair of the Council Committee supposedly in charge. Sharman is not entitled to get this answer. So what is going on here?

    Instead we are informed that the “plan” to try and fix this consists again, like at the start-up, of apparently empty space of 12 to 18 months stated as needed to fill the yawning gap of failure. No plan is to be provided to Mr. Sharman and Council.

    And oh yeah, it’s really the fault of the front-line working stiff staff that are lumbered with delivering this misconception – they didn’t “change”.

    No accountability here where it lies. Rather we get the staff really responsible for this total failure – design, initiation, delivery, and primarily management and plan, being defended and refusing to provide transparency to Council and to residents.

    Is this where things stand?

  • Penny Hersh

    Where was our mayor when this was transpiring? Her role is to lead, I didn’t see much of this when staff basically told Council Sharman that he was not entitled to see the information that he requested.

    Residents have long said that staff ran council, not the other way around. It seems that you can make changes in staff but the culture remains the same.

    Have to wonder how many of the city staff would still have positions in Burlington, if residents had input on who was being hired?

  • Lynn Crosby

    Very tired of the concept that staff seems to feel they should lead council rather than the other way around, as well as the concept that what they say is automatically and always right. We continue to see examples to prove otherwise. Very glad to see some members of council beginning to question things, albeit too late for a lot of damage already done.

  • MrBean

    Lisa Kearns is not my ward councillor but I like her.