Tuesday December 14, 2011

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday December 14, 2011

Mayor apologizes for ‘misunderstanding’ on pay hike

Mayor Bob Bratina narrowly avoided a closed-door discussion Tuesday about his conduct after he apologized for blaming his aide’s $30,000 raise on the city’s human resources staff.

But Bratina’s apology didn’t shield him from a public thrashing by his council colleagues.

While councillors said the apology erased the need for an in-camera discussion about whether Bratina broke the city’s code of conduct, they launched a pointed line of commentary at the mayor in public session.

Councillors Brian McHattie and Sam Merulla accused the mayor of repeatedly bullying city staff. Councillor Terry Whitehead questioned Bratina’s explanation of the gaffe as “unintentional.” Councillor Lloyd Ferguson expressed concerns about how Peggy Chapman’s 33 per cent pay hike would affect the city’s union negotiations.

Councillors accused the mayor of using staff as a smokescreen and scheduled a second in-camera meeting intending to rule on Bratina’s conduct.

Bratina attempted to head off the secret meeting last week by sending two other statements — one privately to council and one to media — attempting to clarify his position. However, it wasn’t until Tuesday’s apology that councillors said they were satisfied.

Bratina’s statement was sent to senior staff, HR chief Helen Hale Tomasik and council just before 9 a.m. Tuesday and obtained by The Spectator. At Merulla’s request, Bratina agreed to release it publicly to the media. (Source: Hamilton Spectator) http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2225963-mayor-apologizes-for-misunderstanding-on-pay-hike/