Mayor unable to find a restaurant in Burlington to treat her brother to oysters on the half shell.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2019



It takes a certain kind of person to run for public office. And should they get elected it takes a certain kind of person to succeed at the job.

That job isn’t about them – it is about the people they serve.

In clerical circles – priests and minister, pastors and rabbis use the phrase: a calling; they feel called to do the work they do.

We seldom see that kind of language in political circles. Politics is about power.

That power belongs to the voters who give it to the people they elect who they trust to serve the public’s interests.

The public looks for wisdom and good judgement.

It was surprising then to see a photograph of Her Worship Mayor Meed Ward sharing oysters on the half shell with her brother, who happened to be in town, at what looked like a very swishy restaurant near the water – sailboats in the background.
Family is said to be everything – unless of course it is totally dysfunctional – but I digress.

MMW with brother - Oakville

Oysters on the half shell – a favourite Meed Ward delicacy shared with her brother at an Oakville restaurant.

Some might ask – especially those in the hospitality business – why the Mayor didn’t take her brother to a Burlington restaurant. Spencers is the equivalent to anything Oakville has. Others have the same ranking.

Many of the people who run restaurants supported the Mayor in her bid to become Mayor. This must be just a little galling.

We are not arguing that the Mayor should only ever be seen in a restaurant in Burlington. What we do want to suggest is that when she publishes pictures of herself on her Facebook page – it would be politically smart to make sure that the background is a Burlington skyline. They don’t call these things photo ops for nothing.

Council will be in full bloom next week; thick agendas will sit in front of them and some serious recommendations will get passed on to city council later in the month. No word yet on who the Mayor is bringing into her office to replace the staff member who decided she liked greener, more digestible grass.

The Mayor pinched the assistant to the ward 4 Councillor who now has to rely on the other assistants for the support she needs.

Word is that it could be as much as a month before the staff problem is resolved. Is Mayor Meed Ward running into the same problem Mayor Goldring had – not being able to find good people she can work with to carry out one of the toughest jobs in the city.

The staff member she pinched is as good as they get – Meed Ward should have kept her when she was he assistant as a Council member.

The job calls for wisdom and judgement – which seems to be missing at the moment.

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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18 comments to Mayor unable to find a restaurant in Burlington to treat her brother to oysters on the half shell.

  • david barker

    Penny, I was in contact with Council members and senior staff immediately after the first published reports of the fraud. I provided some unsolicited advice and from responses received I am confident the matter is fully in hand. I am not as concerned as much about whether or not any recovery has been made, either via insurance or through the banking system, as I am about implementing an easy risk management control to prevent recurrences. If insurance was not in place to cover the loss I will wantn answers to:- (1) Why not?; (2) Was insurance coverage offered by the broker to the City; (3) Did the City decline to purchase the coverage? At an appropriate time I will follow up with my Councillor.

    The contents of this comment were edited.

  • david barker

    Penny. Within the past couple of years a number of my clients suffered this type of fraud.

    There is a simple risk management procedure to minimize the possibility of this type of fraud Have a protocol that requires someone to contact by phone the alleged author of the emailed instructions to gain a verbal confirmation of those instructions.

    In some cases where the defrauded funds flow though correspondent banks before they get to the intended destination account it is possible to catch up to the funds and recover them. One of my clients, a major law firm, was defrauded of $2.20mln. Luckily we got it back. If we had not their insurance would have paid.

    If the City was not able to pull the funds back and so submitted an insurance claim, that claim process would take a while. Often the insurer requires the matter be kept confidential. I guess we will all have to study the City’s financials to determine if a recovery of any sort was made.

    So a question for you Penny.

    A question you previously ignored.

    In your initial comment here on this topic you spoke with apparent knowledge and expertise on the subject. Yet now it is clear you actually have no grasp of the subject at all. So the question is “how often do you spout off a position as fact when you have absolutely no idea if it is fact or fiction?”.

    I think the appropriate phrase here is “stay in your lane”!

    • Penny Hersh

      David, you obviously are the “guru” on this subject. I would ask that you contact City Hall and get the answer directly, since you would be able to ask the right questions. Did they get their money back? Looking forward to hearing the response you receive.

  • david barker

    Jan Mowbray. OMG. Have you never availed yourself of services from a vendor outside of this city, when there existed a vendor of those services within the city. You you answer “never” you are surely telling a “porkie'”. Please grow up and stop the holier than thou. She has done nothing wrong ethically, morally or in any other way.

  • Jan Mowbray

    It’s not a case of denying someone the right eat wherever they want but she if she’s going the way of social media why not dine in her own community, supporting the city’s own tax paying busineses.

  • david barker

    Rob. So taking your analysis to the next level, should this have happened in say a local ministry office of either the provincial or federal govt’s, the Premier or the Prime Minister respectively would be responsible. That’s a bit absurd.

    Penny, that’s an interesting comment. Upon what knowledge, experience or expertise do you make it.

    Believe me, as an insurance broker of 47 years, insurance for this type of loss is available. The policy goes by the name of either “fidelity” or “crime”. The rider or endorsement providing extension of coverage is known as an SEF (social engineering fraud) endorsement. SEF coverage is offered by Chubb, GCNA, Trisura, Beazley and many others. My understanding is the City does have coverage for this incident. If it does not have coverage, certainly serious questions should be asked of the City’s risk and insurance manager and of it’s insurance broker as to why it does not have this readily available protection.

    • Penny Hersh

      David, Obviously, I don’t have the experience that you have, however, don’t you think that if the City had been able to recover this money that they would have told the residents of Burlington?

  • david barker

    Rob. The Mayor did not lose the $500,000, nor is she responsible for the error of a staff member who was hoodwinked by a fraudster who perpetrated this fraud, known as “social engineering fraud”. The good news is the City likely has insurance coverage for the loss.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      Actually David the Mayor is responsible for everything, both good and ill, that occurs under her administration. That’s why it’s a tough job. And if you’re going to play the politics of personality over policy and platform, then you had best be very, very good at it.

    • Penny Hersh

      David, I don’t think that there is any insurance that covers this type of loss. Saskatchewan had a similar incident of engineering fraud that resulted in over $1,000,000.00 being taken. Fortunately for them they were able to determine who hacked their account and got their money back.

  • rob

    what happened to the 500k missing in the email scam she just brushes it off what if she ran a business and lost 500k would the employee get fired

  • Penny Hersh

    I agree that the Mayor has the right to dine out wherever she wants to. I also agree that perhaps to have a quiet evening with her brother she felt that she had to go to a restaurant in Oakville.

    The error in judgment was posting this on Instagram and Facebook.

  • Hans Jacobs

    It’s a nice picture and she has a great smile. She probably works very long days on behalf of Burlington and the Region so I’m happy to see her enjoying herself.

  • Carol Gottlob

    The mayor can choose where to spend her personal time, as can you or anyone else, and choosing our neighbour city to spend a few hours with her brother is fine with me. Because she is so popular and recognizable here, the likelihood of running into someone from Burlington in Oakville is much lower. She works hard. She reaches out. I happily grant her that respite. I was actually happy to see that post, and “liked” it.

  • James

    I am hardly a fan of the Mayor, but criticizing where she eats seems a bit much. None of us know what it’s like to be Mayor and what impact being locally well known has on her personal life. Sure, we’re not talking Hollywood celebrity status here, but she no doubt receives at least passing glances from people who recognize her, or even people coming over to say hello. Maybe she just wanted a nice evening out with her brother without feeling as though people were watching her every move, regardless whether they actually are or not. I have a laundry list of complaints about this Mayor, but I’m prepared to give her this one.

  • Maura

    Jakes oyster bar on walkers has delicious seafood and oysters
    Just saying❤️

  • david barker

    OMG. you certainly are trying extremely hard, I must give you that, to find fault with the Mayor. Any reasonable person/voter will understand that we all have the right to, without being questioned, to maintain our social life as we like. The Mayor is entitled to dine with her family without being questioned. The fact that the Mayor chose to post a picture which was not an obvious photo op underlines she has more credibility than most in politics and is not just posing to gain political points. Fir God’s sake lighten up and stop being so critical.

    As respects the staffing matter, good qualified, experienced, motivated people are hard to find no matter what line of work. Staff come and go in all businesses for a variety of reasons. So a reallocation of resources is needed. Obviously the chief executive should get the pick of the available talent. So what’s your point?