hard(ly) at work

Three incumbents should be embarrassed by their terrible attendance record. The Councillors occupying Council chairs the longest (21 years for Coleridge, 15 for McLean) attended the fewest meetings. Now that they’re criticizing Council decisions, the question has to be asked, did they actually attend the meetings when the information was provided and decisions made?

It should be no wonder that Mayoral Candidate Ferguson and Councillor Coleridge aren’t aware of some key information. Were they there when it was presented and discussed? Looking at their attendance record, it’s clear, chances are they weren’t.

Some candidates have anchored their campaigns on statements about “common sense” and how hard they work. I’ve written several times about why I think “common sense” is an intellectual cop out. But let’s look at this claim of hard work by Ferguson.

Ferguson’s email signature says “working hard for our community”. Her ads have people testifying to her hard work. I found this very curious because I’ve worked with Ferguson for 3 years and rarely have I seen evidence of what I would call “hard work”.

Her campaign material sounds impressive. There’s a long list of very worthy organizations for which she’s sat on the board of directors or volunteered. She attended an endless list of ribbon-cuttings and tea parties.

What’s interesting is that, when you ask other people at the same organizations how Ferguson contributed, they talk about how she attended … sometimes. But when she did show up at all, she often arrived late and left early. And she rarely took on any real responsibility.

This exact same pattern is apparent in her record as a City Councillor. She missed a significant number of meetings, and for the ones she did attend, it was not at all unusual for her to leave early.

Her committees were undeniably unproductive. Her list of accomplishments is sparse. And those tasks were completed with very expensive consultants and intensive staff time.

By contrast, my committees and I produced five policy papers without a penny spent on consultants, and none required a huge investment of staff time. Compare that to the $70,000 spent on the ill-fated branding project and the expensive, bungled Economic Strategy.

Given that she has actually accomplished so little as a Councillor, yet says she said she was working so hard, the question is, what’s to make anyone think she’d do better as Mayor?



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