Getting into Shape. Council is going to be involved, deeply involved.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 23, 2011 Making the Shape Burlington recommendations real is going to be easier said than done.

While the recommendations and the city staff` response to those recommendations has been accepted by council – council is also saying – not so fast, when it comes to who is going to be hired to take on the delicate task of working out just how the citizens are going to be involved in deciding what gets done at city hall.

Council decided at its last meeting on Monday that they wanted to be directly involved in creating the job outline and the job description for whoever gets hired for the two year contract job. Mayor Goldring said that “we don’t do this very often” but on this one we want to be down in the engine room.

Some days the “Civic Engagement Officer” will have to run …

Some days the “Civic Engagement Officer” will have to run …

and on other stands stand firm.

and on other stands stand firm.


Normally Council gives staff a Direction to perform a task and staff get on with the job. Sometimes there is a requirement for staff to report back to Council or a committee. But the hiring of the person who will over see the implementation of the Shape Burlington recommendations is being treated differently – a lot differently.

Rather than have staff just go out and hire someone to do the job – council wants to get their fingers into this one and so Ward 5 council member Paul Sharman put forward an amendment that said:

Direct the General Manager of Corporate Services to present to Council the job description and objectives for the two year contract position prior to recruitment.

We might even see Council find a way to actually interview the applicants.

Whoever gets hired for this contract job will clearly be a retired diplomat who has a thick skin and both a pair of army boots as well as a pair of running shoes.

Look for some tumult when whoever they hire is finally in place. This applicant will have to somehow satisfy everyone on council, which will be impossible, as well as placate a city hall staff that wasn’t all that comfortable with the Shape report when it was first released. And then also have to deal with the Shaping Burlington people who are in place to ensure that the Shape recommendations are put in place.

Interesting times ahead on this one.


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