A bad idea

There aren’t many municipal blogs, which surprises us, but there it is. So we keep tabs on municipal stories elsewhere. Here’s a bad idea gestating in the Ottawa Valley.

Council has directed staff to prepare a bylaw that would give the chief administrative officer delegated authority to make decisions during the ‘lame duck’ period.

That’s a bad idea.

According to the draft bylaw that was presented Monday night for council’s consideration, the CAO would be responsible for appointing or removing any officer of the municipality, hiring or dismissing of any employee of the municipality, disposing of any real or personal property of the municipality which has a value exceeding $50,000 at the time of disposal and making any expenditures or incurring any other liability which exceeds $50,000.

A really, really bad idea. Said one Councillor:

“I’m not comfortable with council being essentially neutered for a period of time,” he said. “I don’t know if that is what’s democracy is all about. I’m not happy with it.”

What is surprising is how willing Petawawa’s  Council is to give its power, our power, away. Said the mayor whose vote was needed to break a tie:

We could muddle through without delegated authority, but I have no problem recommending this and I think we should have faith in our staff,” he said.

Beware. These idea get passed around at those Municipal Conferences we pay our Councillors to go to.

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One response to “A bad idea

  1. There is a northern constellation that some call “The Big Dipper”. While the stars are real, the constellation, is, off course, a construct of local imaginings. In China, the same stars were imagined to be “The Celestial Bureaucrat” seated on a cloud and accompanied by his eternally hopeful petitioners.

    I’ve said it before, we don’t have a democracy. What we have is a popularity contest to elect “representatives”. I’m not surprised that lazy and dull-witted “representatives” hand off their responsibilities to “The Celestial Bureaucrat”.

    Personally, I think that all bylaws should be voted on by the people — directly. Given modern technologies, it would be a trivial thing to do.