Motion to curb the Mayor's power is on the Agenda - may not get debated today

By Pepper Parr

March 19, 2024



It took a bit of a scuffle but the contentious motion to curb the Mayors powers was kept on the Agenda.

Councillor Sharman and the Mayor were the two that didn’t want the item on the agenda at this time.

Councillor Bentivegna said that once the item was on the Agenda he was going to be ask that it be deferred to a Special Council meeting that he said should take place on Tuesday of next week.

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna – wants the issue discussed at a Special meeting of Council next week.

Bentivegna argued that there had not been enough time for the public to be aware of the issue, which he said was very important.  Councillor Galbraith said that the issue was already out there but was prepared to go along with a Special Council meeting that Bentivegna was going to be putting forward at the appropriate time.

Councillor Sharman wondered what the rush was – he wanted to hear what staff had to say before he made a decision.

So – the item is on the agenda but it isn’t likely to be debated today.

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8 comments to Motion to curb the Mayor’s power is on the Agenda – may not get debated today

  • Blair Smith

    I will join the chorus. It’s rather obvious that MMW will be loathe to return any of the Strong Mayor powers to Council and unfortunately it is entirely within her discretion to do so. What I expect will happen is that she will delay the decision, unless there are mandatory timeframes, and that she will return only a portion of the requested powers. It will be done with consummate spin and much prior media involvement and it will herald a new age of difficult relationships amongst Council. It will not be a lame duck administration but perhaps a castrated one with occasional, outraged squawking and much ruffling of feathers.

    The vote next Tuesday hinges, as all are acutely aware, on the disposition of Angelo Bentivega. If his performance yesterday is any indication, it will be frustrating to watch and laborious to decipher. However, it is time for him to shine and for his fundamental decency to manifest itself. I expect that it will.

    Full marks to Councillors Kearns and Nisan. They maintained the pressure and made obvious all the Mayor’s silly gambits. They were able to effectively counter each of her attempts to confuse and defuse the deliberations. The only question I would pose of them is why they believed that they had no right to the Integrity Commissioner’s counsel. I believe that they have every right and that the Mayor should have tabled it as a reference document rather than doing the dance of the seven veils with what she would or would not disclose of his advice.

    • Blair Smith

      My apologies to Mr. Bentivegna for misspelling his surname – less haste and more speed. I was referring, of course, to his twin brother by different mothers.

  • Joe Gaetan

    The “Strong Mayors Building Homes Act” is just that an Act to get homes built faster.
    The Act was expanded in August of 2023 to include more cites such as Burlington. From November of 2023 to Feb 16, 2024, Burlington Mayor Meed Ward issued 10 Mayoral Decisions.

    The “Pipeline to Pemit Committee” that I suspect was put into place to “Build Homes” faster was inaugurated on Feb 7, 2024, almost 7 months after our Mayor was given the power via the Act to build homes faster.

    One of the questions to be answered by the Special Meeting of March 26,2024 is, how did those 10 Mayoral decisions help build homes faster?

  • shirlie gala

    Many Mayors in multiple towns and cities have delegated their power concerning committee structure and hiring and termination of employees back to council and back to the CAO/City Manager. This does not require a special meeting of council to discuss. It is clear MMW is not interested in giving up her new strong mayor powers as she would have delegated it away on July 2, 2023. Actions speak louder than words as my mum would say and all voters are watching and listening.

  • Gary Scobie

    I want to comment as a citizen who is paying attention to these motions by three Councilors. Yes, there was not a lot of lead time for citizens to see these motions and understand them. But this obviously has been simmering for a while on Council and it is not a citizen motion, it is a Councilor motion within Council. It is to me a motion that is being put forward to restore democracy in Council and I am glad that my Councilor and other Councilors are representing their constituents in doing this. I don’t need to delegate on this. It is an internal Council issue and should be dealt with there and quickly. Don’t use citizen lack of engagement to stop this from happening. It is a ruse in this particular case. Get it done!

    • Joe Gaetan

      I agree with Gary that this may not be the time to delegate. I attended yesterday’s council meeting in person for the express purpose of hearing firsthand how Council would deal with this item. Regarding the comments on Angela Bentivegna, my take is Angelo wanted to fully understand the implications of the motion.
      If you care about democracy you may want to attend the Special Meeting in person that is scheduled to take place in the Council Chambers on Tuesday March 26, starting at 9:30 a.m

  • Tom Muir

    I support all the actions and change items of the Motion, for all the reasons and more given, and more, but agree with Councilor Bentivegna that this is too big an issue to put as Item 18 of 20 of this Council meeting.

    What kind of thinking shape will any of Council, and others with purview in this matter be in by the time item 18 comes about. And what kind of treatment will the first 17 items get?

    I wanted to submit my 5 minute something of delegation advice about moving forward on the two development items – Adi and 1026 Cooke – set for Council approval today, but I decided, what is the point of my or any delegation, on anything, today?

    I would really like to have some delegation say on the Agenda item about the powers of the Mayor. As I said, I support the Motion in all aspects. The Mayor has too much power and she has abused it in many aspects of governance and powers, and in my own personal experience it involves integrity, transparency, and accountability, and goes back to her first term as Councilor of Ward 2.

    I would like an opportunity to give Council some – even 5 minutes – of my experience. Other citizens might like the same.

    I guess this could be avoided if you just decide to vote a majority to pass the Motion today. Someone just needs to move a vote, quickly.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Well we’ve now sunk to a new low of obfuscation, denial and desperation. Zero humility displayed – why would I be surprised. Yet I am. Wow.

    Frankly I don’t care what staff have to say. The public supports democracy. I’m sick of the Mayor’s tactics, sick of Sharman’s games but am laughing at the fact that the mayor has now gotten to the point where Sharman is her (only?) ally. What does that say, Madame Mayor, about everything you once claimed to stand for?

    I hope that this gets done however it can, be it today or next week, and that Councillor Bentivegna supports it strongly as well. Thank you to every councillor who is saying “ENOUGH!” At some point, one would think the Mayor would care about what her actions say about her. Apparently, not as of yet though.