Will she get an apology? Meed Ward to meet with Mayor, Clerk and City Manager about how she was shut down at Council. Fireworks?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   April 24, 2013  Four people will meet in a room sometime tomorrow.  It will probably be the Mayor’s Boardroom. They will talk about the way the Mayor and the city Clerk decided to bring a quick, abrupt almost brutal halt to the lengths of time Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward used to talk about issues that concerned her – on this occasion it was the Ghent Avenue development that was approved at the April 8th,  Council meeting.

During the debate, while Meed Ward was speaking, the Mayor nodded to the Clerk and the Clerk nodded back and then reached for a small booklet at her table.

The Mayor then turned to Meed Ward and advised her that she had run out of time and to wrap up her comments. Nothing like that has ever happened with this Council.

Meed Ward was stunned, she protested at the time but she didn’t fully understand the section of the Procedural Bylaw Manual the Mayor was using to shut her down.

Meed Ward talks – always has, always will. Was using a poorly written section of the Procedural bylaw the most effective way to teach her to talk less?

She understands that Manual now and has asked to meet with the Mayor, the Clerk and the City Manager – they will meet sometime Thursday.

Is there an issue here?

There should be.  It is really poor form for the Mayor to collude with the Clerk to limit the privileges of an elected member of Council.  While municipalities don’t have rules as complex as those in the House of Commons what the Mayor and the city Clerk did was deliberately curtail the rights of a member of council.  And that is a no, no – or should be a no, no.

What galls Meed Ward is that no one has ever spoken to her about the length of time she speaks at council meetings.  Meed Ward does speak at length – she does tend to prattle at times.  If she is taking up too much time in the opinion of council members did they not have an obligation to speak to her?  If none of them had the courage to speak to her directly could they not have written her and pointed out the provisions of the procedural by-law.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven tends to lecture when he speaks.  Does the Mayor feel he can tell Craven in a public session that is broadcast live via Cogeco Cable that he should not lecture when he comments?

At times Councillor Taylor gets really emotional over an issue.  Does the Mayor turn to the Council member and ask him to be less emotional and more rational.?

Councillor Dennison can really get into an issue and start talking about the size of the wood that is used to repair a building – and he does go on and on at times. No one has ever called him on it?

Meed Ward is not popular with her fellow council members.  She hasn’t bought into the cliquishness that becomes the way things are done on many municipal Councils.  That for the most part hasn’t bothered her.

Did city Clerk Angela Morgan think it the wise use of her office to collude with the Mayor to limit the rights of a Council member?

This piece of behaviour – it was collusion – on the part of the Mayor and the Clerk is poor form, just wrong and certainly not the way you manage a group of people who are supposed to be working for the better good of everyone in the city.

Leading a Council is not easy but that is what we elect a Mayor to do.  The meeting that should have taken place to discuss the amount of time Meed Ward talks at council meetings is now a meeting in which Meed Ward will want to know why she was treated the way she was treated and at the same time clarify the section of the by-law that was used to shut her down.

Meed Ward should be seeking a public apology from the Mayor at the city council meeting on the 29th.  Should the Mayor choose not to apologize,  Meed Ward should publicly upbraid him for his poor behaviour.

At $29.95, plus shipping, handling and applicable taxes it’s a steal. The Mayor might want to order one for his Clerk as well.

Once this matter settles itself down Mayor Goldring might order a copy of George Cuff’s book that defines what municipal governance is all about. Cuff, a management consultant delivers no-nonsense advice about the appropriate roles of council members, the head of council, and the administration, discussing:


    The art of governance

    Understanding leadership

    Council management problems

    Governance best practices

    Hallmarks of successful elected officials

Using some of his expense allowance for this book will give the Mayor better value than he got from his purchase of the Lance Secretan book; that one led to a dream that died.

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4 comments to Will she get an apology? Meed Ward to meet with Mayor, Clerk and City Manager about how she was shut down at Council. Fireworks?

  • Harry Mc Mahon

    Mead Ward represents the people in ward 2 and she does this very well. So what if she takes more time to express her opinion , it’s the content that counts now how long it takes to say it.
    She is a maverick and God bless her for it.

  • Cindy Flaoric

    According to the City’s proceedural by-law – nothing states time limits for council – just delegations.

    Clerks never reprimanded council memebers when they went over this non-existant time limit when talking about the Pier or the Quarray…

  • Bobby S

    Looks like the job has gone to Goldrings head. It’s amazing how arrogant someone can be when they haven’t even served a full term as mayor! Especially when you consider his limited overall municipal experience.

  • Joan Gallagher-Bell

    Councillor Meed-Ward deserves an apology. The residents of Burlington recognize her dedication and honesty. God Bless her.