Salt with pepper – Noblesse oblige has yet to settle on the shoulders of Meed Ward.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 13, 2011 It was a particularly graceless s remark, made by a Council member filling in as deputy for the Mayor while he was out of town meeting with officials in Portland Oregon.

When the Mayor is away a member of Council serves as the deputy for the Mayor. Last week Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was filling in for Mayor Goldring at a Senior Citizens event that had an official from the Bank of Canada teaching seniors how to detect counterfeit money.

Meed Ward arrived a bit early and mingled with people she recognized and “worked the room”. The afternoon meeting was brought to order and Meed Ward approached the lectern to say a few words – which she did. She explained that the Mayor could not be with them that afternoon – but didn’t say a word as to why the Mayor was not able to be on hand. She left the distinct impression that the Mayor didn’t have time for this group when there was an opportunity for Meed Ward to say a few words about where the Mayor was and what he was doing.

Meed Ward works the room and listens to the qualms and concerns of a senior citizen.

Meed Ward works the room and listens to the qualms and concerns of a senior citizen.

She could have referred to the messages the Mayor had sent to Facebook friends, which Mayor Goldring sent every day he was away and which Meed Ward logs into at least once every day and leaves a message of her own. She is the most effusive Facebook user on Council.

There was an opportunity for this Council member to tell the room of senior citizens where the Mayor was, what he was doing and how his trip to Portland could impact the lives they lived.

But Meed Ward chose to let the opportunity pass. More than one Council member has commented on the difficulty they have with Meed Ward and her tendency to carve out her own path through the jungle of municipal affairs. She is the boldest member of this Council and has brought about, and no doubt will continue to bring about, good changes. Her work on getting the Planning department to come up with better scheduling of community meetings so that citizens have enough time to consider development reports and the fuss she made over the Section 37 agreements the city gets into are all more than applaudable.

But grace and a sense of sharing the load with her fellow Council members has so far eluded Marianne Meed Ward. Her inability, so far, to engage her fellow Council members is regrettable.



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