Comment 33943

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2009 at 13:24:32

Dave, you're absolutely right. How hard can we expect a senior bureaucrat like McCabe to think about a decision when he has absolutely no personal stake in the consequences?

I'd wager that if you were to look at the City's salary disclosure list, not a single one of those bureaucrats earning $100k (or above) lives in the lower city. They have no stake in the place they're supposed to be managing. You just can't expect top performance under such circumstances.

I don't think it would be unreasonable at all to demand that top-level bureaucrats live within the city boundaries. Indeed, one shouldn't even have to demand it. The problem is that the people who work for the city have no sense of their job as a public service. The vast majority are in it only for the security of tenure and comfortable pay scale. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone on Hamilton staff who has any real passion for the city.

As for the City Solicitor's advice to council, I still don't understand why singling out the Connaught Proposal for further consideration would lead to liability issues. Courts have made it quite clear that elected bodies do not owe a defined standard of care or review to private interests in their deliberations and decisions. The only thing that matters - and rightly so - is the public interest.

As for the decision to go in camera, I still think it was suspect, despite Mr. Bratina's explanation. The fact that litigation is attached (or potentially attached) to a particular aspect of an issue under deliberation does not justify the closing of all discussions on that issue. Even if it were to be justified on a literal application of the law, I still think it incumbent on council to ensure that any interruption to public access to debates be absolutely minimized. I truly think that council has been playing fast and loose with the in camera provisions of the Municipal Act and that we should be holding them to account to the furthest extent the law allows so as to break the culture of secrecy at City Hall.

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