Your job as voters is to hold them to account, demand transparency and expect a seat at the table – and then show up.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2018



In the next few weeks they will be meeting with people in accounting and giving them the data they need to get their names on the payroll so that half of their annual remuneration of $100,000, give or take a bit, flows into their bank accounts.

They will tell the printing department how they want their names to appear on their business cards.

The IT people will assign them email addresses and cell phones and iPads.

They will get used to parking their cars in the parking lot right outside city hall

Life as they’ve known it will take a whole new meaning. The anxious voters they were chasing just a few days ago with now address them as “Councillor”

Our Mayor Elect will begin to think how she can deploy these younger, eager people who are setting out to do the people’s will.

Few of the five newbies, Kevin Galbraith for ward 1, Lisa Kearns for ward 2, Rory Nisan for ward 3, Shawna Stolte for ward 4 and Angelo Bentivegna for ward 6.

Will Bentivegna show up with his traditional gift of a selection of his biscotti?

Paul Sharman is suddenly the Dean of Council, the only person other than the Mayor, who fully understands the budget these seven people are going to pass before the end of January.

In his first year as a city Councillor Sharman, in 2011, pushed through a 0% budget increase. He could redeem himself, indeed reinvent himself if he could pull that off again and nurture the new five on the intricacies of a municipal budget..

There probably isn’t one of the newbies who could stand up and rhyme off the names of all the Directors and give you twenty words on the approach they take to the departments they operate.

They will learn and the public will be forgiving for at least six months.

The focus, as it should be, will be on the Mayor Elect. She is going to have t determine who she will take on as staff for her eighth floor office. Will some of the people who worked with her day to day in the campaign be part of that team: Lyn Crosby is a possible.

Now that she is in office the public needs to understand that you can’t just trust her to do what she said she would do.  Politics doesn’t work that way.

You couldn’t live with one-term Can Jackson – so you elected Rick Goldring. He looked good, he was a decent sort and so you elected him and trusted him to do right by you.

How did that work out?

Your job as voters is to hold them to account, demand transparency and expect a seat at the table – and then show up.

Hopefully a lesson has been learned.

They all mean well – help them deliver on what they meant when they asked for your vote. They need both your support and your willingness to ask them the hard questions as they set out to do a really hard job.

Kearns direct smile

Councillor Elect Lisa Kearns

Rory - glancing

Councillor Elect Rory Nisan

Shawna listening to Dennison

Councillor Elect Shawna Stolte

Angelo B - squint - red post H&S

Councillor Elect Angelo Bentivegna

They are all in the middle of an incredible euphoria. Let them enjoy it. Then be there for them. The past eight years should have taught us all something.

Kelvin Galbraith headshot_Super_Portrait

Councillor Elect Kevin Galbraith

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1 comment to Your job as voters is to hold them to account, demand transparency and expect a seat at the table – and then show up.

  • Penny

    Mr. Sharman, can redeem himself, if he is able to. Many of the residents in ward 5 voted for him, granted with all the candidates running it allowed him to come up the middle and win. As one of the only incumbents returned to office, it is my hope that this may make him realize that not everyone in his ward felt that he is the right person to represent them.

    As someone who has been vilified by Mr. Sharman, I hope he takes the high road and works for all the residents of Burlington by acting as a mentor to the new members on council.