Thursday December 1, 2011

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 1, 2011

Mayor adds military consultant, municipal analyst to staff

A military consultant and a municipal affairs expert are the two newest additions to Mayor Bob Bratina’s staff.

In an email sent to councillors Tuesday afternoon, Bratina announced that Lieutenant Colonel Geordie Elms — a defeated Progressive Conservative candidate in October’s provincial election — will take on the role of senior adviser of military heritage and protocol.

“Hamilton always has been, historically, a military town. It continues to be. We had 400 people from Hamilton in Kandahar,” Bratina said in an interview. “So it’s important to have a liaison between the mayor’s office and the city. Municipalities have a set of skills and it doesn’t usually include the military.”

Former city clerk Kevin Christenson will take on the job of municipal analyst. Bratina said Christenson’s role will be to provide advice and guidance on city issues.

“There’s not necessarily a focus,” Bratina said of Christenson’s role. “He may tell us that based on how our office is operating, it may be better to do that or do this,” he said.

The two men will act as consultants on an as-needed basis, Bratina said. They will be paid, though the mayor declined to reveal their compensation. Other than administrative staff, they are the only hires Bratina has made since Peggy Chapman became his chief of staff a year ago.

The two hirings raised eyebrows at City Hall Tuesday afternoon. Some councillors raised concerns that since Christenson is a retired city employee, he will be “double dipping” — receiving both a pension and a salary. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)