Mayor sends a memo - it was not well received

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 10th, 2021



They all got the memo.

It apparently didn’t go down very well.

Meed ward election night 1

Marianne Meed Ward – the night she won the 2018 election

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is reported to have advised her colleagues that as a result of her concern over her life work balance she has instructed her colleagues not to send her email after 5:00 pm and not before 9:00 am.

Where did the Mayor ever get the idea that her job was 9 – 5 ?

And, we wonder why she didn’t just advise them that she would not be answering email after 5 or before 9.

There are other directives put to the six ward Councillors – and they aren’t liking the treatment coming from the Mayor.

When the current Council was sworn in December of 2018 five of the six ward Councillors knew next to nothing about the job they had taken on and relied heavily on Meed Ward to guide and direct them.

Five of the six now feel they are ready to be more involved in the long term thinking and are able to mount initiatives of their own.

sharman with sign

Councillor Paul Sharman, chairing a virtual meeting of Council

Paul Sharman, Councillor for Ward 6 and in many ways the dean of this Council, doesn’t take too much guff from the Mayor; he sits on the sidelines waiting for the opening he needs to take her on directly.

The email sent to the other five members of Council could be the thin edge of the wedge that will separate Meed Ward from the fan club that has supported her for years.

No revolt yet – but those on the seventh floor, which is where the Councillors live, are not happy, or impressed with the Mayor who works out of the 8th floor.

Situations like this seldom get better – they fester and infect.

Mayor Meed Ward may not have the leadership skills many thought and hoped she had. Managing your peers when you are the first among equals is a critical skill set.

How long will it be before the ward Councillors stand up to the Mayor?

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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15 comments to Mayor sends a memo – it was not well received

  • Howard

    Direct quotes or the full memo would certainly offer much clarity. Without it we have a baseless opinion piece. Does the mayor get into the weeds too much -yes. Does she effectively use her staff – no, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. She does operate in a well intentioned mindset however she does not allow each councilor to manage their constituents without interference. If she narrows her job function, she may be able to achieve more results.

  • David Barker

    With the exception of Carol and Hans, what we have here is the same bunch of MMW bashers (including the Editor) being holier than thou as they usually are.

    The term “normal business hours” has been used here. Before I retired I would work all hours of the day to provide an unequaled level of service to my clients. I was driven to do that out of wanting to be the best. On a number of occasions though I was admonished by clients for not taking personal time.

    The memo, which I have not seen and I would guess none of us have, may have been badly worded, but I’m confident the message was meant to be more along the lines “I’m not going to respond to non-urgent matters until normal business hours. Of course I remain available and on duty for urgent or emergency matters.” That position is completely proper.

    I’m also confident MMW will be working on City matters outside normal business hours, preparing for meetings etc.

    If I was to send her an email about say the leaf collection program or some other City service, I should not expect to hear back from her on a weekend or during the evening.

    Just because technology now allows immediate contact and response does not mean we should expect immediate responses.

    Before I decided to take much more of an interest in city matters (much to the dismay of many commentators here), I had no idea how hard councillors work or the hours they put in. I may not agree with my Ward 2 councillor all the time, but I ca not fault her application. I say the same of the Mayor. I take my hat off to all members of Council, including Councillor Sharman who apparently is doing his impression of a basking shark.

  • Michelle Harris

    I feel so sorry for the Mayor! My god, she got her dream job! She made so many promises! And then she realized she actually had to work and earn her salary as many in her community barely hung on. Many took pay decreases or lost their businesses, all the while she leveed her hand and keeps passing her personal agenda (WARD 2) with tax increases. missing the bigger picture. Now she wants her quiet time, while at the same time on TV, Podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and claiming work life balance and mental health. SHE CAN PISS OFF! Where is my quiet time? Where is my tax break after a 40% pay cut? (But God forbid you are one day late in paying the almighty) She is more out of touch than a used tampon! She can get off her self promoting social media and do her job. It’s becoming very clear she is unfit for the job.

  • Penny Hersh

    Perhaps the Mayor needs the time to study for her course? While I applaud her for taking the initiative to improve herself, this should not have any impact on her doing her job as Mayor of Burlington which we are constantly being told is “the best city to live in”.

  • Susan Corrigan

    Reminds me of the time Peter Thome tore a strip off someone because they dared to approach after a church service. Peter said something about not working on Sundays and fobbed them off.Also If l was making a city hall salary l wouldn’t need a patron to pay for my continuing education. It already appears to me that two of the councillors are the teachers pets to be placed where it is most beneficial to her. I use to be a fan.

  • James

    The nerve of this woman. City Hall opens at 8:30am, staff are expected to be working during that time. Who does she think she is to expect everyone to tip toe around her during normal business hours while she’s having her quiet time? Being Mayor is often a thankless 24/7 job, I certainly wouldn’t want it, but she did, and she knew full well what she was getting into when she ran for office. There is no timeout for elected officials, especially in the midst of a global pandemic and economic crisis. She gave up her right to work/life balance when she took this job. Can you imagine John Tory or any of the other GTA Mayors sending out a memo like that? If her mental health is suffering and she needs to put her personal needs ahead of the needs of the people she was elected to lead that’s fine, I’ll respect her for calling out that fact, but then step aside and let’s hold an election now and get someone in there that can actually handle the job.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Your observations are right on the money–leadership of any organization, whether it be a business, a public-sector bureaucracy, or a political office, is never a 9 to 5 job. Before MMW was elected Mayor, there were rumblings that she didn’t work well with other members of council but I believed that these observations lacked credibility, particularly given the source(s). But after two years in the Mayor’s chair, I have reached the following conclusions about MMW–she doesn’t listen well to others, indeed, she is likely to have critical comments on her FB page censored (and while some personal comments should be censored, many comments that criticize her statements and policies are part of the democratic process. She has a view that she and she alone knows best. And I’m critical of her record in office which has been characterized by tax increases and increases in government spending, occasionally on virtue-signalling initiatives. I voted for MMW in the last election but I regret my decision. Can anyone really say that Burlington is improving as a place to live since she took office?

      • Mike Ettlewood


        Very well said and I agree with all you have noted. This is an administration of personality over policy and program. MMW has for quite some time “shaped” the conversation to her benefit by deleting critical comments to her posts and having ‘plants’ post favourable commentary or redirect the criticism. She was infamous for this during the 2018 campaign.

  • Carol Victor

    Is this the best we can be? We need to stop needless criticism …everyone is entitled to some work life balance….more people should be demanding this during this very turbulent time especially our leaders who have gone above and beyond to keep us informed and up to speed on our community’s concerns.

  • Denise W.

    She can choose when to read them. As to when to send them, anytime. It is called responsibility. So pony up cowgirl. That said, you couldn’t pay me to take that job. But anybody who does, certain things, go with the territory.

  • bill

    Perhaps if she thinks the Mayor’s position is a 9-5 job she should look elsewhere for work?

  • Mike Ettlewood

    Well, at the risk of incurring the righteous wrath of the Mayor’s legion of the faithful, there is no expectation of “work/life balance” if one is operating their own business, holding an executive position in a large enterprise or running a city. The memo, on its face, belies a complete lack of understanding of what it means to govern. The business of Burlington does not stop for the Mayor’s pleasure. You need to learn how to do the dance madam. You also need to learn how to support your team many of whom do not have the luxury of turning their constituents off after 5:00 pm and may need your guidance or support.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Re: “…he sits on the sidelines waiting for the opening he needs to take her on directly” – if that is truly the case, it says more about Sharman (what was his % of the vote again?) than it does about MMW.

    I don’t see anything that suggests that MMW is working only 9 to 5. Wanting some time without being interrupted is not unreasonable.

  • Tom Battaglia

    This was not reporting news. This was an editorial and should have been noted below the headline.

    Editor’s note: Tom – you could be right. I will add the word you suggested. Does that change the content of the memo she sent?

  • Anne and Dace Marsden

    She got the idea the sane place as she and two city clerks got the idea that just because the procedure bylaws says setting a Special Council meeting with the annual calendar is prohibited does not mean it cannot be done when she is head of council!