What a week; the one we are heading into will define the city for the balance of this term of office

By Pepper Parr

March 23rd, 2024



What a week!

On Tuesday, as part of a Council meeting, three members of Council put forward a motion to ask the Mayor to relinquish some of the powers given to her by the Strong Mayor legislation.

Mayor Meed Ward fought to keep that Motion off the Agenda.  When she failed at that effort she fought to prevent the calling of a Special Meeting of Council where the matter would be debated.  The Mayor failed at that as well.

Council members learned, from the City Solicitor, that the ability to enforce their request was limited.

Then on Thursday we learned that two senior staff members were no longer on the city payroll.

Members of Council have said very little publicly, which is unfortunate for the idea of open government and keeping the public informed is critical to the functioning of a truly democratic government.

The city is at a critical point and it is going to take the best that we have to ensure that the best interests of the citizens prevail.

There are more questions than answers at this point.

Who fired the two senior executives?  That would normally be a City Manager responsibility.  In the statement the City Manager released there is more than a suggestion that he didn’t do the firing.

Mayor Meed Ward presiding over a city council meeting.

The only other person who could fire people is the Mayor.  Assuming she made the decision there is an obligation to register that decision and make it public on the city web site.  At this point there is no statement.

Not to be too crass about it – but what is it going to cost the taxpayer in terms of severance packages?  Given the length of time the two have served it has been suggested that the sum might be as much as $ 1 million

Social mediate will record dozens of misguided statements.  This is a time when level heads are needed and for a public to be informed as to just what the issues are.

While the current Council is challenged when it comes to responding to the people who elected; make no mistake – they read every comment that is sent to them.  This is the time to flood the Mayor with what you think should be done.

The votes that are placed in ballot boxes are the transfer of power from the individual to those they choose to lead.  That power is vested in the seven elected members of council – not just the one member.

We are heading into a disruptive few days.

Let’s remember who we are and what we are – and demand that Council, not just one person make the decisions.

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3 comments to What a week; the one we are heading into will define the city for the balance of this term of office

  • Renato velocci

    the cyty Mayors and the councillors are elected by the people and payed by the tax paid by the city people. They must be responsible to the people that elected them. Period

  • Penny

    Does the saying “cleaning house” come to mind?

    The mayor is using her “strong mayor” designation to put in place the people she feels will serve her well. The mayor wants a clear path to have control over the budget and the planning department. Why else would she get rid of two of the best staff in City Hall?

    It seems as if she wants to rid herself of anyone who worked closely with Joan Ford, who retired, and Tim Commisso, who opted not to renew his contract. He probably saw the writing on the wall and left before he could be fired. After all, at a meeting of strong mayors she told people that she wanted “a city manager with more initiative”. This of course came back to Mr. Commisso and is probably the reason for his announcement of not renewing his contract.

    It is a sad state of affairs, and the Mayor is banking on the fact that many residents have no idea of what is happening on Council or City Hall.

    Once again I urge residents to email, or phone their councillors and the mayor to let them know where they stand. Also, I encourage anyone who is able to attend the special council meeting at city hall on Tuesday, March 26th, from 930am-10:30 am in person.

    It is important that we stand behind the councillors who brought forward this motion.

  • Caren

    If you don’t want to delegate at this special meeting on March 26, 2024,
    Please submit your comments or feedback to: clerks@Burlington.ca

    Your comments will be given to committee members in advance of the meeting and will be attached to the minutes, forming part of the public record.

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