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?"

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14 Candidate Responses (top)

Ward 02
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Caplan, Marvin Yes Council sometimes sounds like a bunch of kids in a school yard. Their disrespect for each other, staff, and community is shameful. The Municipal by-law for Hamilton has rules of decorum that are often not enforced. I plan on rising on a "point of order" each time those rules are broken. If the Chair of the meeting isn't enforcing the rules, Councillors have an obligation to bring that to his or her attention.

I would propose two changes. Councillors should stand when speaking, the physical change may help remind them of their duty to speak respectfully. Once Council has made a final decision, there should be a rule that no member of council may publicly criticise that position.
Casey, Paul Yes I agree. I have attended council meetings and was amazed with the indifference to the protocols, rules of order and the disrespect by some councillors for the citizens making presentation. Even the "fashion statements" were appalling. Wearing a suit and tie is something I do not normally do, however if it fits the job, and in this case it does, you present yourself at the level you should. We represent the city and people of Hamilton, should we not provide a strong and professional image?

What would I do about it? I would personally live by Graham Crawford's "Some Council for Council" http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1165/some_counsel_for_council , and recommend it as required reading for all new and existing officials at City Hall.
Castle, John Yes I think they should all bring along extra shoes to sling at one another.
Chiarelli, Diane Yes I have to agree with the observers that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. A code of conduct may be required as a solution to this problem. It is my belief that if you are a public servant, and that is precisely what a councillor is, that it is a duty to conduct yourself accordingly.
Deans, Ian Yes I'm going to carefully review the Parliamentary practices pertaining to proper decorum, with an eye to developing something appropriate to deal with municipal issues.
Farr, Jason Yes My whole campaign has been about bringing coucil together and stopping the fighting.. time to fess up to the fact we have not acted in the best interests of those we represent - every incumbent is hearing that loud and clear and I expect a new attitudde - and hope greater solidariity (with the Hamiltons best interest at heart)
Geleynse, Martinus Yes To change this, I would first ensure that my own behaviour is respectful and collaborative in nature. I believe that disciplined leadership by humble example can go a long way, and genuinely respecting others in spite of differing viewpoints is essential. People in constructive dialogue are able to accomplish infinitely more than people engaged in reactionary confrontations. There is no place for insults, threats, or name-calling in the forum of City Hall.
Gentile, Matteo Yes With too many issues, this council seemed to be more interested in self-serving personal agendas instead of truly having a vision for the whole city and co-operating with that spirit. It also seemed there were too many "deals" being made amongst councillors to support each other's initiatives (call it vote buying). Operating this way makes for a dysfunctional council.

I have a few guiding principles. One, have integrity. Do what you say and say what you do. Two, do it with respect. People often have differing views, but when you articulate your views with respect and integrity, you will garner support. Three, any perspective has to have due diligence and process to support that perspective and four, if it means spending, how are we going to pay for it without increasing or adding taxes or debt.

I believe if you act this way consistently, you will garner support from fellow councillors and build a professional and respectful council.
Ielasi, Pat Yes First it is important to realise that every member on council has been elected to represent their individual ward constituents and every councillor has there own personality and style ... each will speak with passion and conviction on what they believe will be the best or right decision.

NEVER WILL I ENGAGE IN ANY CHARACTER ASSASSINATION of ANY MEMBER OF COUNCIL publicly or privately. We may disagree on issues but ones character will never challenged. Respect breads Respect.

Maybe we could have a "Disrespectful comment jar" placed in the middle of the chamber and when one councillor is deemed to be disrespectful they have to pay 100.00 to the jar and that money can be collected put toward the elimination of poverty.

I wonder if we would have raised enough money to eliminate poverty in the last four years... hmmmmm.
Janjic, Ned Maybe Spirited discussions and emotional debates are what democracy is all about. I have not found the council meetings to be particularly disrespectful or unprofessional. However, I have on occasion found the topic of discussion to be petty and often times drawn out.

There have been clashes of character between members of council, which perhaps could be reduced through established guidelines for debates.

For the most part, council runs efficiently, but appears to be sidelined by technical issues and problems that may be better addressed by support staff, which deals with these issues on a regular basis. Members of council should not hesitate to take a firm stand on the issues. Being on council sometimes means making tough decisions.
Jelly, Matt Yes Respectful meetings begin with each Councillor committing to conduct themselves respectfully and I will certainly follow through on that. This includes listening to the public and fellow councillors; not working on other matters during meetings (including answering emails via blackberry or laptop); treating delegations with respect; and ensuring that I have read and am informed on the matters before the Committee or Council.

I think many of the meetings are too long - the marathon sessions of the Planning and Economic Development Committee do not foster good behaviour. Sitting for 7 to 9 hours is inappropriate for citizens and members of Council. We must have an agenda that deals with the issues, fosters citizen participation, and provides councillors with the time for respectful debate.

Finally, I think it is very important that we remind ourselves that we may disagree on issues but they cannot become personal attacks on fellow councillors, citizens, or staff. Good debate includes respect.
Lescaudron, Dawn Yes Yes. I agree with this comment however in order to rectify you must have a strong team in place, a team that works together and not against one another. Respectable and professional practice is the result of good team work. I also believe that the mayor should lead by example and practice etiquette while enforcing the rules and order of conduct. Our behaviour is contagious.

I am passionate and I believe in fighting for the cause but at no time will I be anything less than professional. I practice good listening skills, clear communication and I encourage those around me to do the same. I have no difficulty addressing disrespectful behaviour.
Novak, James Yes It is important to realize once you are elected as a Councillor, the election is over! It is then time to get down to work and fulfill the expectations of those who entrusted their vote to you. The structure of civic government demands co-operation among mayor and councillors in order to move ahead with the civic agenda. We have been stalled over the last year because Councillors and the Mayor have gone off in many different directions attempting to stake out election positions instead of working together for us.

I know how civic government works and will work together with the mayor, council and citizens to move the Ward 2 and city agenda forward. I may not agree with the mayor or other councillors on certain issues, BUT I will always be respectful and considerate of their opinions. Following an election, check the ego at the door of City Hall, it is time to get down to work.
Pipe, Charlie Yes I believe Council meetings can be passionate and heated debates. However, long-winded grandstanding that wastes so much time has no place in City Council.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

5 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Ward 02
Coleman, Shane
Ferguson, Lloyd
Hess, Erik
Jones, Hoojung
Wright, Kevin