What did the Mayor do: she buckled - gave back some of what Council didn't think she should have taken in the first place.

By Pepper Par

April 13th, 2024



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told council in March that she needed time to think about the request Council members had made related to her Strong Mayor powers.  She took the time she needed, got the lay of the land and realized what she was up against and issued three orders that gave council much of what it wanted.

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna: Working through a very hard month.

Kudo’s to Councillor Angelo Bentivegna’s and his insistence that this whole business go to Council on April 16th.  The Gazette has no idea what members of Council will have to say – the Mayor has made public what she has done.  It all comes into effect on April 22nd when Hasaan Basit starts his new job as City Manager.

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith: The decisions the Mayor made get him out of the very uncomfortable position he found himself in. Doesn’t appear to have the kind of grit needed to perform at this level.

The decisions the Mayor made gets Councillor Galbraith off the hook – he was having an awkward time of it.  Now he can vote with the Mayor which takes away the majority the rebelling councillors had.

This is complex stuff, not something a parent trying to get the kids to the soccer pitch has time to think about.  They are nevertheless important decisions.

Earlier in the week members of city Council made the Mayor’s day a very uncomfortable one.  She wanted Council to support her decision to hold a Speakers event that she said was not going to cost the tax payers a dime.   Council members asked how much time would the Mayor’s Staff, paid for the tax payers, be used to get the Speakers event underway?

It should have been a humbling experience for the Mayor but she isn’t paying all that much attention to how a majority of the Council feel these days.  More on that in a seperate news story.

The decisions Mayor Meed Ward announced are:

# 1 Mayor Meed Ward delegated the following duties to the Chief Administrative Officer:

Determine the organizational structure of city hall Staff.
This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

# 2  As Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duty to the City Manager/Chief Administrative Officer:

 to hire, dismiss, or exercise any other prescribed employments powers with respect to the head of any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure.

This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

The following positions, relevant to the City of Burlington, are excluded:

1. the clerk or deputy clerk
2. a treasurer or deputy treasurer
3. an Integrity Commissioner
4. an Ombudsman
5. an Auditor General
6. a registrar for lobbying matters, as described in section 223.11 of the Act
7. a chief building official, as defined in the Building Code Act, 1992
8. a fire chief, as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
9. other officers or heads of divisions required to be appointed under the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Toronto Act, 2006, or any other Act
10. any other persons identified in regulation

# 3
The delegation of decisions regarding existing committees
I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to existing committees:

1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.

This delegation is subject to the following guidance in accordance with the Municipal Act.

1. That any recommended change to chairs/vice-chairs be discussed first with the existing chair/vice-chair, and is subject to their agreement regarding the change, subject to Guidance section 2 below; and
2. That any finding or recommendations arising from an Integrity Commissioner (IC) investigation of a violation of the Council Code of Good Governance overrides Guidance section 1, and would be dealt with in the normal course of Council dealing with an IC report and recommendation;
Decision Number: 07-2024
3. That any establishment or dissolution of existing committees or change to their functions require a reconsideration vote of 2/3 majority prior to tabling the item, per our procedure bylaw for reconsideration of Council decisions.

Decision regarding new committees
Council may wish to create new committees for the balance of this term.

I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to establishing new committees:

1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.

This delegation is subject to the following guidance prior to proposing a new committee in accordance with the Municipal Act.

1. That the City Manager/CAO confirm capacity exists among staff to support any new committee; and
2. That should capacity not exist for a new standing committee of Council, the City Manager/CAO has the option to suggest alternatives to achieve the objectives of the proposed committee(s).

This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

Mayor is pressed by Councillors as to when she will respond to their request that she relinquish some of her Strong Mayor Powers

Full details on the decisions Mayor Meed Ward made that delegated various authorities to the City Manager and Council.

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4 comments to What did the Mayor do: she buckled – gave back some of what Council didn’t think she should have taken in the first place.

  • Caren

    Our Mayor did not buckle! She wants control of absolutely everything at City Hall.

    What she did, was hand over the Powers being requested by the majority of City Council members to the new incoming City Manager who is Not an elected official, but an employee. This way our Mayor will still have the upper hand in all decision making at City Hall through him. (This is how our Mayor wants it to be).

    This is actually far worse, because if he doesn’t do what our Mayor wants him to do, she will either intervene; or take these Powers back for herself and or fire the City Manager for not compling.

    This is neither Democratic or appropriate for our Mayor to manipulate her Powers in this way!

    Give it up Mayor!!!
    You have the chance to make this right again on April 16th and give all powers that can be delegated back to our elected City Council members as they requested.

    The next Municipal Election in October 2026 can’t come soon enough.

    • Tom Muir

      Why would the Gazette think how Councilor Galbraith would have ever really voted for the Mayor Motion? He is in debt to her over his IC conflict of interest complaint. The Gazette comment gives the Councilor an easy out.

      We will have to wait and see.

      My experience with IC investigation, and the egregious interference of the Mayor and Councilor Galbraith, was that the Code of Good Governance was not enforced by the IC or the Clerk, or Deputy Clerk. Further, there was also no attention paid to this contravention of Code by anyone on Council, including the Mayor.

      There was also serious public interference and intervention, in my opinion, conflicts of interest, led by the Mayor and the Councilor and other Councilors, contrary to stated Procedural practice by the Mayor and Complaint Member and IC, stated as being third party, independent, impartial adjudicators, not to be interfered and influenced by any member of Council and Mayor.

      In addition, there was no public Council release and Agenda item discussion of the IC report or recommendations – the IC closed its file and stopped work at the very same time it gave a November 29/22 Disposition Report to the Complainant and the Member, just 15 hours after I submitted a November 28/22 complaint about Mayoral and Council public and media interference in the Spectator, with the IC investigation on November 25/22. The IC Report has been buried apparently, with no public Council trace.

      They should have stayed out of this complaint as they repeatedly said their policy is – No involvement or interference with Integrity Complaints.

      I see no integrity in this deliberate involvement, especially by the Mayor, who has also persistently ignored the facts and defended the Councillor despite knowing there was a complaint filed to the IC. As well, the Councillor himself continues to involve himself in the Mayors’ defence of him, despite the same Council policy of no involvement.
      Again, what did you ever think how Councilor Galbraith will vote for regarding the what the Mayor wants? I am really just waiting to see.

  • Blair Smith

    The Mayor’s response to the Council’s request is practised; it is classic Meed Ward. It does little to clarify or resolve the situation but, rather, introduces new threads for debate, all of which are really tangental to the issue at hand. Her “Open Letter” is a thing of ‘spin beauty’.

    So, perhaps we could simplify the debate if Her Worship would answer two very basic questions. First, what is it that you alone can do with the Strong Mayor powers that Council cannot do? Secondly, if there is anything that you can do that Council cannot, is that “something” worth the repudiation of our democratic principles that is inherent in the Strong Mayor powers?

  • Lynn Crosby

    She didn’t buckle. She did essentially nothing. In fact, in some ways she’s made it worse. And her social media onslaught with her “open letter” is simply giving more attention to the fact that Burlington’s mayor won’t do what many other mayors did, and easily and quickly return the powers to her duly elected councillors, as they requested. It sure seems to be annoying more and more people.

    What further games will she play at the April 16 meeting? It’s becoming alarmingly bizarre watching her reactions. Between all her games and writing her silly defensive posts, when does she actually do the work for the city?

    Democracy dies in Burlington – great legacy, Mayor!