Posted by Ian:
While he has yet to file his nomination papers, Mayor Cliff Barwick took the opportunity Monday night to wrap up his New Year’s address to council with a call to city voters to put their trust in him for one more term of office.
“As I approach the zenith of my political career,” said Barwick, “I earnestly believe my civic duty will be fulfilled and personally complete,to serve just one more term as head of council. To that end for just one more time I will be asking for the trust and confidence of the public.”
So, just four days into the new year, the mayoral race has its first entry, as a result putting the onus on challengers to declare their intentions sooner, rather than later.
The issue that has, and will continue to dog Barwick is the matter of the need to fill the position of a chief administrative officer. Vehemently opposed to more than one captain at the helm, as he himself put it in a year-end interview with the Times-Journal, Barwick nevertheless alluded to a CAO in Monday’s address with a compromise recommendation involving the present administrative structure.
“The concept of a clerk-city manager should sincerely be considered,” advised Barwick.
No doubt, he is alluding to present clerk Wendell Graves (touted in this corner for some time as the obvious and desirable candidate to serve as CAO).
It’s a compromise Barwick hopes council will warm to, but don’t expect him to bend any further on a CAO.
“I believe we do not need another layer of bureaucracy at city hall,” he stressed.
Missing the point entirely that the addition of a CAO would benefit city staff more than handcuff the actions of mayor and council.
If you need further evidence of Barwick’s unwillingness to provide on open forum for criticism and difference of opinion, his third recommendation of the evening calls for a review of delegations to city council.
“Especially those of individuals,” Barwick pointed out. “While I strongly support public input it must be carefully balanced with those who wish to appear on camera for personal motives.”
That remark clearly a shot across the bow of individuals like Bill Sandison who have dared to challenge the mayor’s credibility and leadership ability on issues such as his trip to Japan, his relationship with St. Thomas Energy and the need for an electoral ward sytem.
The mayor has come out swinging in his message to the citizens of St. Thomas and the ball is now in the corner of those wishing to draw the curtain on Barwick’s political career sooner, rather than later.
Will Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman risk all or nothing to unseat Barwick. Will Mark Cosens rally the expertise of the Steve Peters camp and the deep pockets of Bob McCaig to launch a challenge?
OUT OF TOUCH
Rev. Ian Johnston’s address to council about seasoned leaders who stay too long was revealing and clearly targeted at his audience. He lectured them that as leaders become older they get arrogant, have trouble passing the baton and shut down new ideas from others. He said words to the effect that seniors never graduate; they hog the leadership table and halt the next generation. These senior leaders lose touch and cultural relevance and think tenure is the determiner of influence.
Does this sound like anybody you know? Barwick obviously didn’t get the message.
Advocate for a Better Municipal Government
STR8TALK in St. Thomas