Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this?

Responses to the question: "Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this?"

← Back to Election Page

In This Page:

10 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Baldasaro, Michael James Yes I agree. Council Meetings could be more respectful and professional. What I will do to change that is to seek the agreement of Council to time limit submissions to 1-5 minutes depending on the subject matter and complexity. Home work should be done at home and Members should be able to keep it short just like they do during All Candidate Debates. The less time we spend getting to the point means the more time we have to read up and study the problems and articulate our replies.
Bratina, Bob Yes Decorum is maintained by strict application of procedural by-law and Rules of Order. For instance, when a point of order is called for, the response of the Chair should be "what is your point of order?" Instead on many occasions the response was a Kreskin-like "that's not a point of order".

The mayor under the Rules of Order keeps track of and adds names as requested to the Speakers' List. At one meeting, my request to be added to the speakers' list to raise an important issue was ignored by the Mayor. When asked later about this the reply was, "I won't be Councillor Bratina's lackey".

Another mayor, chairing a public meeting regarding the Lister Block, told a member of the public, "Well, some of what you said was intelligent." This caused an uproar in the gallery with the Mayor being shouted down, and demands issued for an apolgy.

The meetings I conducted as chair of many standing committees were said by media, staff and the public to be models of decorum, carried out in an efficient, productive and timely manner. This was achieved by simply following the rules of order and disallowing lengthy time-wasting statements irrelevant to the business at hand.

The meetings of the Board of a billion dollar corporation should be conducted at the highest level of efficiency and respect. Personal attacks, impugning motives of other speakers and insulting the points of views of others does not belong in Council business and is not allowed by procedural rule.
Butani, Mahesh P. Yes The current council's reputation for being unruly has been magnified by the single infamous act of "pencil throwing" in the council hall!

By now, we have forgotten what led to that sorry incident - but the reputation of 'gross unruliness' stuck. Could that particular councillor's salary have been docked? Could he have been reprimanded and forced to offer a public apology for his act? Could he have been forced to do community service - especially when the general perception of this particular councillor has been that he was MIA through most of the two terms?

Instead, our media gives this councillor the status of a know-it-all patriarch, and elevates him to become a front runner in one of the most critical elections this city is facing. And now empowered, he goes on to extol the virtues of procedural by-laws and rules of order to the community - without once taking blame for his actions which brought so much disrepute to the entire council; nor once accepting his well known fiery temper and his predilection to hold grudges at the smallest of perceived slights.

Our serious concern here should not be the collective misbehavior of our councillors, which I think is exaggerated and quite unfair - but the recurring individual outbursts that can easily be identified as a personality trait - which has gone unpunished in our council hall as well as in our media.

Our perception of 'councillor unruliness' is also often magnified by council votes that are often at odds with our preferences - and as such we need to be very specific about what creates this impression of unruliness and lack of professionalism, and what gives the loose impression of dysfunctionality - from our councils inability to arrive at a time bound consensus on critical matters regarding our city.

I would develop a new code of conduct for all councillors (to reflect our new market focus on economic and business development) - not just for while they are performing their duties in the council hall, but also when they are out in the community, or responding to their constituents service or inquiry calls. Any proven violation of this code of conduct would result in swift and decisive actions as prescribed in this new councillor performance manual.

The Bay Observer recently asked a similar question: "The public seems to have lost respect for the way city council functions. Why?"

Below is an excerpt from my response in this months edition:

"Much as the public appears to have lost respect for the way city council functions, it is part of the bigger loss of respect for our many public institutions that once stood for honour, integrity and respect. Our local media sadly has played a very central role in alienating the citizenry. When it can easily play an educative role in honestly informing the residents of our civic affairs, it chooses partisanship and sensationalism. The public takes its many cues from the media. And the payback is apathy and loss of respect..."
Eisenberger, Fred Yes I agree that there is a certain perception of council but it is important to keep two factors in mind. First, the Municipal Act forbids council members from meeting as a group except at a formal council meeting. That means council is working things out literally for the first time in public and in real time, unlike other levels of government where positions get worked out behind closed doors in caucus meetings.

The second factor is that the news media by its nature focuses on controversies and disagreements. That means the media does not report on the hundreds of hours of committee and council meetings when members agree, accept friendly amendments, and get things done.

Are there controversies? Yes. Does the news media report on them? Yes, as they should. Does council function well for the most part? Yes it does. Can we do better? We can always do better and always strive to do so. Is progress being made? Absolutely!

Despite the perception, Council has been working better than ever before. I want to continue to build on the success that we have achieved so far. Under my leadership, for the first time, Council and Senior City staff completed a strategic planning session to set council and community building priorities.

We also went through a vision exercise which means that for the first time, we have a city vision for all council members and city staff as a basis to work from. That vision is: "To be the best place in Canada to raise a child; promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities."

We have made excellent progress, we have achieved success, and now I want to keep building momentum towards the prosperous Hamilton of the future that we all want.
Graydon, Edward H.C. Yes The attitude that has been shown by the front running candidates has been shameful. I am certain that if voters had been aware of the child like actions from the three front runners or witnessed it first hand, then to me there is little question that the front three would in fact be the last three. Swearing at debates because of bickering between the front runners is questionable behaviour at best, the attitude that has been shown to fair play by the leading candidates is nonexistent.

I believe that many of the neighborhood organisation have been disappointed by the actions of the top three, does this mean that they will continue the attitude when elected to the office of Mayor or that they are incapable? More than likely it is better to promote yourself with some sense of fair play and not expose your child like behaviour.

The pattern of behavior that has been promoted by the top three will continue and will be present in council if they are elected back in. It is the Mayors responsibility to promote fairness in actions towards all people and groups.

If candidates wants to be recognized for this type of behaviour "than what can I do", but try not to be party in these actions.
Haines, Andrew Yes Answer to part one of your question: I agree.

Answer to part two of your question: Everything I can.

Passing an Eagle Feather between the speakers may be a good start.

In executive aboriginal circles, it is customary to pass the Eagle Feather amongst the speakers.

If you have the Eagle Feather: it's your turn to speak and everyone listens.

If you don't have the Eagle Feather: it's your turn to keep silent and let the one who has the Eagle Feather speak.

...ok, it may not work with the White Man; we're just too ornery, selfish and boisterous to be quelled by a feather.

But it's an idea, though.

Hamilton, Glenn Yes Create financial penalties for crazy behaviour.
Leach, Ken Yes The ineffectual council, and its inability to properly articulate an issue is abundantly evident. Professionalism has become the rarity, not the norm. He who speaks louder, is more aggressive, often has a better chance of accomplishing his/ her goal. To censure a council member for his/her aggressive non-professional behaviour, is unfortunately detrimental to the constituents of this city.

However, to demand respect and an inclusive workplace is not only professional, it is the law. If council members are unable to raise their level of decorum inside a workplace, then unfortunately they do not belong in said workplace. As Mayor, I would not ask for professional behaviour, I would demand it.
Marrone, Tone Yes It has become obvious that council is lacking the leadership necessary to properly govern in the best interests of the public. Council needs direction and leadership, which is really the mayor's most important role. The word 'govern' comes from the Latin word 'gubernare', which means to 'to steer or direct', like the rudder of a ship. Unfortunately, the previous councils seem to have been drifting without a real captain.

Strength of leadership is what sets me above all the other candidates, and it will be my mission to control the decorum and steer the council towards a properly functioning team acting always in the best interests of the city.

I would also implement an online 'report card' system where the public can rate the performance of each Councillor and the mayor. I believe that Councillors and the mayor need to be more accountable for their performance and actions.
Waxman, Steven Yes Insist that this be the normal course of behaviour and institute a policy for censure if not maintained.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

5 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Di Ianni, Larry
Filice, Pasquale
Speziale, Gino
Veri, Victor
Wozny, Mark