What did the Mayor think she was doing: it was certainly not Her Worship at her best.

By Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2022



What we saw last Tuesday at city council was politics at its very worst – the only thing that didn’t happen was someone hitting someone.

It was disgusting, was not necessary and does not reflect the values of the people in Burlington who pay taxes – and everyone pays taxes.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

This disgusting display was led by the Mayor – Marianne Meed Ward.

Quite what motivated the Mayor to act in the manner she did is beyond me.

Are we looking at a person with a personality disorder who does not understand what is meant by good governance?

Georgie Gartside, a city hall staffer, who a one time was the assistant to Meed Ward when she was a Councillor and for a time worked with the Mayor in her office.

Gartside took exception to a statement Councillor Stolte made while being interviewed by the Gazette.

Stolte immediately apologized even though Gartside’s name was not mentioned during the interview or in the article the Gazette published.

Gartside took the position that her integrity had been compromised.

We don’t see it that way but that is just our opinion.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Stolte chose to immediately apologize to Gartside which apparently was not enough for her. She filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner who took the position that the matter did not need to be investigated but also decided that Stolte should apologize publicly which Stolte agreed to do.

Stolte advised the city Clerk, George Gartside and others that she would read out the apology that Gartside had seen before hand during the Councillor Comments part of a Council meeting.

That was not good enough for the Mayor who had the right to revise the order of items on the Agenda.

Mayor Meed Ward decided that Gartside needed to be able to see and hear what she was already fully aware of – and for that to happen Stolte had to read the apology at the beginning of the council meeting so that Gartside would not have to sit through a full Council meeting until the end when Stolte was going to speak.

Did we have a situation where Gartside was to have her pound of flesh for something we don’t think called for a public apology in the first place.

Did we have a Mayor taking the position where she would attempt to compel a member of Council to speak at a time she did not wish to speak?

And where were the other members of Council while the Mayor ran amock?

Did the Clerk not have a responsibility to caution the Mayor?

And could the City Manager not find a way to communicate with the Mayor and suggest a different approach and maybe suggest a recess to let less heated heads prevail?

Some questions:

Was the friendly relationship between Gartside and the Mayor a contributing factor in this disgusting outburst by the Mayor?

If the Integrity Commissioner decided that there was no public interest in doing an investigation where did they get the authority to require Stolte to apologize publicly?

Why is the webcast of the Council meeting not yet available to the public on the city’s web site


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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11 comments to What did the Mayor think she was doing: it was certainly not Her Worship at her best.

  • Marie

    “Councilor Stolte, the abuser, blew the matter in to a huge to do.” The abuser??? Wow. Overly defensive much? Sounds like someone here has an agenda …

  • Denise W.

    I have the impression that, if it were not for all the antics afterwards, nobody would even know of this. To my eye, non of this makes Shawna look bad at all. Commendable even.

    Very concerning how things are done. I hope Shawna enters the election, but understandable if she doesn’t want to. Things should not be like this.

  • Mitch

    I hope Shawna runs again

    • Jim Thomson

      Councillor Stolte said she would be running again in an interview with Jeffrey Allen, published in InHalton.

  • Fred

    Chris and Mary miss the point of the change in agenda order. The Mayor placed Ms. Stolte’s
    (imo absolutely unnecessary) apology at the beginning of the meeting so that, as part of the
    open Council agenda rather Member’s Statement, it could be debated by Council. Ms. Stolte
    was absolutely correct in demanding that the agenda not be so rearranged. I expect that she
    was anticipating another public ‘shaming’ directed by a strangely vengeful Meed Ward. The
    rationale that it was so Ms. Gartside (and host of friends) could witness the apology rather
    than waiting for the end of the meeting, begs “the willing suspension of disbelief”. This
    consideration certainly isn’t evident in the video of the meeting itself where one has to wait
    through approximately 40 minutes of dead air before the meeting begins. Hard to believe that
    this is not an intentional discouragement to public viewing of a very inappropriate
    performance by the Mayor. And certainly not the first such.


    This is neither nice nor necessary. “Stronger language” was used in private discussions.

  • Chris Ariens

    I have to say far too much has been made of this issue. Councillor Stolte agreed to make a public apology to resolve the concern. The mayor asked to move the apology from the end to the beginning of the meeting, to ensure that Ms. Gartside’s fellow staff members would hear the apology. That should have closed the issue. It seems that people are looking to drive wedges between members of this Council where they don’t already exist and reading in motives that are not factual, and making inappropriate statements like suggesting that someone has a personality disorder. These are two people who had genuine intentions to resolve the issue in a way that ensured that a colleague both of them worked with felt supported.

    • Jim Thomson

      I don’t believe the Mayor had a genuine intention to resolve the issue. If she had Councillor Stolte would have been part of the everyone who knew the item was going to be moved.

  • Mary Hill

    You speak only for yourself. You certainly do not speak for me. The Mayor took action at the request of the victim, a resident. All the Mayor did was change the agenda order. Councilor Stolte, the abuser, blew the matter in to a huge to do. Councilor Stolte was wrong in initially obliquely identifying Gartside and secondly causing an unnecessary scene at the Council meeting.

    The Gazette, as more often than not, totally misses the real issue.

    • Jim Thomson

      Did the Mayor let Councillor Stolte know that she was going to change the agenda?
      Why did I have to wait an hour and a half to to delegates so that the Mayor could go to her daughters graduation?
      Does that make me a victim? Not hardly, that was the most fun i’ve had at council ever.
      It was great to see Councillor Stolte stand up to the Mayor’s bullying.

      • Mary Hill

        None of the councilors is a part of the group deciding the agenda order. Ms Gartside knew because why? Because she requested the move.

        Jim, when it comes to the Mayor you, Ms Hersh, the Gazette and others here are conspiracy theorists.

        Stolte messed up in her handling of the issue. Like you she thought the Mayor was going to weigh in on the matter itself. Stolte tried to pre-empt that. But all she did was draw attention to it, and look stupid when the Mayor limited her co.ment to the reason to move the item on the agenda.