Shame for everyone in this affair
Council has made its mark in the snow, now can it get back to work?
The Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The headline last week read “Bratina first mayor ever censured by city council.”
There’s another piece of history for all of us to be proud of. How do we thank the 16 who made it happen and the few who instigated it?
Hamilton has had a lot of great historic firsts but it always seems to be the bad ones that draw the attention of this council.
Last week, Hamilton city council voted 15-1 to censure Mayor Bob Bratina.
What does that mean? Nothing, other than another red face for Hamilton, thanks to the petty politics of all involved, including the mayor.
Hamilton councillors say their code of conduct was repeatedly broken when the mayor denied his involvement in a pay raise for his executive assistant, Peggy Chapman, and demanded investigations into staff behaviour.
We have all heard the story’s about Chapman and her raise. We have all heard the mayor’s tap dance trying to deflect the blame. We have all seen the picture of her leaning up against the tree!
At the end of the day I’m not here to judge what someone is worth, but when it falls within the range of previous salaries, and the department as a whole is operating on less money and staff with those doing more, aren’t we still ahead?
That being said, are the optics bad? Absolutely! Should the mayor have handled it differently? Yes, most certainly.
But can city council please get back to the task at hand which is rebuilding this great city, rather than waiting to pounce like seagulls around a french fry?
The unfortunate fallout from these kangaroo courts is they tend to over shadow any great work this council may have accomplished, such as a recent solid budget with a minor tax increase. That’s something few municipalities can say.
In the end, was any of this exercise worth it? The mayor said he would try to be a better mayor. You can decide for yourself what that means.
It sounds more like a Dr. Drew intervention or Miss Congeniality contest than a city council. Should anyone in this game be accusing each other of unfair play?
Who cares? Not me. Just like I don’t care that some people think Thomas Mulclair was elected leader of the federal NDP because he is a pitbull and that is what’s needed to lead them to victory. That’s politics and the players will rise and fall by the electorate, not the games played.
After a sheepish council, some in dark shirts and suits, read the reprimand to the mayor, they decided to move on and put this all behind them with no discussion.
Well, thanks for coming. It’s a good thing precious time was devoted to this event.
Why? So we could all finally realize this council has issues when it comes to getting along, let alone functioning? I don’t think Hamiltonians need any more proof of that, and frankly, I’m getting too old to be watching the same bad movie over and over again.
This exercise carries no weight, it has no penalty or punishment, just a formal declaration that council does not approve of or appreciate Bob Bratina’s actions, and of course more embarrassment. But for who?
If you don’t support the mayor you’re happy he has political egg on his face. If you do, you’re chalking it up to the same old dysfunctional sandbox politics at city hall we have witnessed for the last several years.
Sadly what this is really all about can be best described as two little boys peeing in the snow, shooting for distance. Unfortunately, it always seems to be Hamilton that ends up with a wet ankle.
Thanks again, kids!
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekday’s noon-3 p.m. on News/Talk 900 CHML. ScottThompsonTalk.com