Vote Dick Carpani for Mayor
  Sarnia Ontario Canada

Council may skip meetings; Too close to election, says mayor

City council might be packing it in for October, if councillors support a plan by the mayor to cancel that month's regular meetings in the issue of fairness.

Mike Bradley is asking the Oct. 16 and 30 meetings be cancelled, so meetings won't become highly politicized as councillors vie for re-election come the Nov. 13 municipal election.

"It isn't called the silly season without reason," said Bradley, who would also be cancelling two media press conferences leading up to the election.

And, if an issue arose Bradley said he would schedule an emergency meeting, as he has done in the past.

The meetings don't tend to be very productive, the mayor said. Plus, the meetings provide incumbents a voice in the local media to push their re-election campaigns, he said.

He said incumbents already have an advantage at the polls. He said councillors should be prepared to run on their record and not use the last two council meetings leading up to the election for personal political gain.

"Sarnia city council has an opportunity to show some leadership here," Bradley said.

The idea is not without precedence. Toronto city council does not meet for more than a month leading up to the election.

The layoff would also allow an overworked city clerks department to focus on election preparations, Bradley said.

Although Bradley said he has the power to cancel the meetings, he said he'd rather put the issue to council to vote on. He said he's received some verbal support from some on council, yet he expects a few dissidents.

Former city councillor Dick Carpani, who has filed his nomination papers for the mayoral position, said he doesn't support council dropping the meetings, even if it does support the incumbent he's trying to unseat.

While he said the idea has merit, in principle, council has already dropped the ball on too many important issues. Carpani points council's move to postpone a decision on a tax hike to allow for more infrastructure projects.

"This council has held so few meetings and zipped through agendas, they're not accomplishing much," Carpani said.

Darren Nesbit, who will be taking a run at council, said as long as there is a consensus to support the move, he would support it.

"I understand the publicity side of things ... and the mayor makes a very valid point," Nesbit said.

However, he said council earned the right to hold those meetings when they were elected by taxpayers. Their term doesn't end just because an election is in the offing.

"I'd hate to see them put off any pressing issues," Nesbit said.

To date, the only incumbent councillor to file nomination papers is Andy Bruziewicz. Others to file include Nesbit, former councillor Terry Burrell, Bill Haggett, Matthew Fleming and Jon McEachran.

Carlos Murray and Carpani have filed to run for mayor.

JACK POIRIER The Observer Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  October 08, 2006