Yes you can! Takes a little bit of digging but you can find out who does what - not in Burlington though - not yet.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2019



It boils down to a mindset – if you really want to – you can. Others have done it and done it very well.
Burlington isn’t there yet.

Last week we did a short piece on “open government” and mentioned that it is possible to reach someone who can answer your questions at the provincial level.

One of our readers did a little looking around and found that – Yes you can!

“I clicked around the Provincial staff directory, how impressive – it CAN be done. It HAS been done. It IS being done.
“That got me to then look at City of Toronto …

Group 7 blonde lady

The city held a Civic Action Lab a number of weeks ago asking what people wanted in the way of access to staff and information.

“Clicking around from this link opens up all sorts of things, including staff names, titles, emails, phone numbers, a detailed description of City Manager, a place to lodge complaints to City Manager, on and on it goes, easy, clear and open. If you didn’t know which person you wanted to talk to, you’d be able to figure it out.

Another reader chimed in with: “Last year as part of some campaign research, I did an open government analysis that used websites as an organizations proxy. I called Toronto the “gold standard”. It actually has an “open government” project that is leading edge.

“If you want an example that is very good and closer to home, look at Hamilton’s website – has many of the same features as Toronto. When an organization is truly open and transparent, there is no place to hide. Amazing what it does for accountability and performance..
Burlington has named the new city manager. City Council chose Tim Commisso who has been serving as the Interim City Manager. He takes up the full time job July 1st.

Commisso has worked for the city of Burlington before. He was with the city for 20 years before heading to Thunder Bay where he was city manager for seven years.

One of the projects he oversaw was the early stages of the decision to build a Pier and the renovation of what became known as the Paletta Mansion. Not particularly inspiring projects to put on the resume.

A majority of council bought what Commisso said he could do for the city – we understand the decision was not unanimous.
There was an item on the June 10th, Closed Session portion of the Committee of the Whole agenda labelled Confidential City Manager’s office report regarding a letter of understanding.

Did it relate to the decision to take Tim Commisso on full time – no way of knowing – it was a closed session.

Which brings us back to “open government”. If this is what the public wants – they are going to have to push to get it. The administration certainly isn’t in any hurry to open everything up.

How do the members of Council feel?

Let’s ask them?


Related new stories:

Reaching the right person at the provincial level

How did information move in Thunder Bay.  Was there a policy of Open Data?

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