Thursday October 13, 2011

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 13, 2011

Council Muzzles Mayor Bob Bratina

City council has stripped Mayor Bob Bratina of his power to lobby the upper levels of government.

In an unprecedented move, council passed a motion Tuesday barring the mayor from meeting with senior levels of government, making financial commitments and negotiating — unless he is in the company of other councillors and the city manager.

The motion, introduced by Councillor Terry Whitehead, also says all communications from upper levels of government regarding “potential funding” must be copied to the mayor, city manager Chris Murray, and all councillors within 48 hours. It passed almost unanimously, with Bratina and councillors Russ Powers and Maria Pearson opposed.

Several councillors were absent from the vote.

While councillors say the motion is only intended to strengthen its intergovernmental relations protocols, the move is an unofficial indictment of Bratina’s behaviour during the recent provincial election campaign. Bratina allied with the Liberals, appearing alongside Hamilton’s Grit candidates at several media conferences and delivering an official endorsement for the party the day before the election — all without council’s knowledge or approval.

During the campaign, Premier Dalton McGuinty also credited Bratina’s influence with the province’s decision to back away from its 2007 promise to fund light rapid transit in Hamilton in favour of funding all-day GO service to Toronto — another development that took council by surprise. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)