No need for deputy mayor: Boushy

The Observer (Sarnia) - - OPINION -

We may be asked to con­sider the cre­ation of the deputy-mayor, a po­si­tion which nec­es­sar­ily leaves us open to put­ting in place a new salary struc­ture now or in the fu­ture. A new ex­pense at a time when we are swamped with ex­ten­sive new costs for the tax­pay­ers.

We have seen the tremen­dous bur­den put on our cit­i­zens by new costs to pun­ish the mayor and re­strict him from per­form­ing his du­ties as chief ex­ec­u­tive of the City of Sar­nia, a po­si­tion he has ably per­formed with­out a deputy for over 28 years. My ob­ser­va­tion in my day-to-day ex­changes with many of our cit­i­zens is that he most as­suredly con­tin­ues to have that large sup­port.

There are two sim­ple ques­tions I would like to ex­am­ine. • Do we need the ap­point­ment of a deputy mayor?; • and, if so, how will that be de­ter­mined?

I clearly do not be­lieve that we need a deputy mayor, and for the fol­low­ing rea­sons.

The un­nec­es­sary cost of cre­at­ing a po­si­tion that we have done with­out for years. When the city hall was built (1963-64) the mayor was Henry Ross and the city man­ager was Bob Given. I served on this coun­cil. We were in charge of more depart­ment than we have now – the Sar­nia Health Depart­ment, So­cial Ser­vices, Mar­shall Gow­land Manor, Per­sons on So­cial Assistance, and one floor of the city hall for the As­sess­ment Depart­ment. All of this was han­dled with­out a deputy mayor and never was a deputy mayor con­sid­ered un­til the con­flict with the present city man­ager and our mayor.

Let’s not spend more of the tax­payer’s money on a deputy mayor to add only to more con­flict. For­get new po­si­tions, adding walls and bar­ri­ers, strip­ping away the keys to en­ter his of­fice, a nec­es­sary tool to his busy job as the chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Se­condly, if the deputy mayor po­si­tion is to be cre­ated, what is the fair and demo­cratic way that should be fol­lowed? Clearly, the only demo­cratic process is to have a sim­ple ref­er­en­dum ques­tion added to the 2018 elec­tion, and let the cit­i­zens of Sar­nia de­cide. This is the best method of avoid some of the fric­tion and con­flict.

It’s im­por­tant to note the present method un­der­taken by some mem­bers of coun­cil leaves it­self open to a con­flict of in­ter­est be­ing quite ob­vi­ous and con­trary to the Mu­nic­i­pal Con­flict of In­ter­est Act.

A deputy mayor stands to gain now or in the fu­ture in­creased re­mu­ner­a­tion – a clear con­flict.

An open and fair ref­er­en­dum avoids all such con­flicts.

The cur­rent prac­tice to hav­ing a coun­cil per­son stand in for our mayor when he is able to is a prac­tice that works well and gives ev­ery­body a chance to handle the mayor’s po­si­tion with­out cre­at­ing salary for a deputy mayor.

Let’s not go down that road. Dave Boushy City/County Coun­cil­lor

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