Personalities getting in the way at City Hall

**Update: **Mayor Bratina was at GIC on Monday. Ms. Peggy Chapman, his chief of staff, informed me Sunday at 9pm of this change in his schedule.

Mayor Bob Bratina will be missing Monday’s special General Issues Committee meeting as he’s scheduled to be in Regina for the Big City Mayors Caucus organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

On its own, this is noteworthy but not newsworthy – the Mayor is often unable to attend meetings due to city business.

What makes his absent newsworthy is that the Mayor called the GIC meeting for January 24 and then requested the meeting be moved to the 27th due to the scheduling conflict.

Bob Bratina is running a small office of only three staff, only one of whom has previous experience at City Hall, as administrative assistant to former Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy.

The scheduling of a special GIC meeting when the Mayor is unavailable is a mistake his office should not have made.

Early this past week, Mayor Bratina emailed City Councillors requesting the rescheduling of the meeting. In order to reschedule, a majority of Councillors were required to agree. While the results of the “vote” are unknown, Monday’s meeting is continuing as scheduled.

Mayor Bratina and a majority of Council do not see eye-to-eye; there are strong personality clashes. This is not surprising when you consider the now-Mayor was known for numerous arguments with fellow Councillors last term, including the infamous pencil throwing incident.

These personality clashes are now showing in how Council is being conducted and conducting themselves.

This is a problem for all of us. City Council must function for the next four years. The Mayor and Council need to work out their differences.

The best way for this to happen is for the 16 individuals to work together on a vision for the direction they need to take the City over the next four years.

The plan needs to be more than “the best place to raise a child” or we’ll “address poverty in the ‘Code Red’ neighbourhoods.” Only with a set of concrete goals can Council and the Mayor have a shared agenda with which to overcome their personality differences to work towards improving Hamilton.

With the Pan Am debate finally coming to a finish, the City needs a positive vision to revive the public mood after the great disappointment of the stadium debate.

In a nod to nostalgia, we can become the “ambitious city” once again.