It’s been a couple of weeks now since the election. As I have said before, I was a little disappointed in some of the results, happy with others. We still have a couple of weeks until the new council gets sworn in, but I thought I would do a quick review and opinion piece on the new incoming council as follows:
Mayor Sandra Cooper:
Although she managed to capture 51% of the vote, her cohorts (bloc) were completely decimated. One retired, two were soundly defeated in the election and one scraped in with only 38 votes to spare. We all have to hope that she learned from that lesson and be a productive influence on the council, rather than an obstructive one.
A couple of posts ago, I was whining about the election results and someone named “Triguy” made the following comment:
My favourite story this post-election season was of a senior citizen (long-time Collingwood resident) who dutifully voted for Cooper because “She was such a nice lady at the grocery store all those years”. WHAT? Really? That is a qualification to run a multi-million dollar company? More unreal is no one takes that conversation to the next place.
Baffled Listener: “Oh really? What was her position at the grocery store all those years?”
Uninformed Voter: “Cashier”
Baffled Listener: “Just Cashier? She wasn’t promoted to head cashier or supervisor or manager after 20+ years at the store and because of her superior leadership skills, her vision, her involvement in the store community with other employees, etc.?”
Uniformed Voted: “No just a cashier, but she was always so nice!”
I thought this was a great comment. By all accounts Sandra is a nice person, but because of the way she has ended up as Mayor of Collingwood (she was in the right place at the right time in both elections). She will lack the skill sets it requires to competently govern from a position of weakness. So I believe she will be an obstructionist Mayor. Expect her to be on the wrong side of a lot of votes as she tries to make petty points with those on council she dislikes and fundamentally disagrees with (Deputy Mayor and 4 of the 7 councillors). She will have a difficult time this session and will be reduced to ribbon cutting ceremonies and public appearances, while the important business of running this $50M corporation is left to those more competent members of council.
Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson:
Because of much of the above, as with the last council, the Deputy Mayor will effectively be running the town and setting the agenda. He already has a couple of heavy hitting motions coming when council resumes. Those motions were made public during the election campaign, they indirectly reference Sandra Cooper’s many perceived if not actual conflicts of interest, in some of her dealings with her brother Paul Bonwick. If she is smart she will vote to approve the motions and move on. We all know better than that though don’t we? This will set the tone for the next few months, if not years to come.
From what I have seen of Brian, he has a sharp tongue, a dry wit and is extremely intelligent. I believe he will use those traits with abandon on any council member that decides to slack off and come to a council meeting ill prepared. With Brian at the helm we are going to get full value for our money from this upcoming council. To be honest I am counting the days until I can get to see him in action (get a life Nobody). Be prepared for many challenges on process and procedure, sorely lacking in the last council. Basically because Sandra did not want to know, or actually did not know any better. I hazard a guess that Brian has been studying up on municipal law and practices since long before he filed his nomination papers to run for Deputy Mayor. Plus lawyers by definition, are extremely good at reading a digesting written material. Knowing my own intellectual weaknesses, I sure am glad I am not sitting on this council. I can go toe to toe with most people in a verbal fencing match, but I would not fancy my chances against Brian. He will be like nothing any of us have seen so far in the local political arena, a complete breath of fresh air. Sandra must have a dire feeling of trepidation at the thought of trying to work with her new Deputy Mayor.
My apologies for being so longwinded in this post I had hoped to complete a full review including the councillors in one post. I will follow this up with my review of the new councillors shortly.