Budgets require tough decisions. But not the disastrous ones that are shaking the local business community right now. Amidst the outcry among locals, it appears some city councillors are joining the public in questioning Mayor O’Keefe’s leadership skills during hard financial times.
Mayor Dennis O’Keefe’s response to this has been to blame breaches of confidentiality, and an undivided front, as council’s biggest issue right now:
“I have a few concerns about the activities and the leadership of some councillors,” he’s said. “You have eleven individuals who are elected and should try and get together and act as a unit as best they can, in order to make the best decisions, as was done with the budget.” (So, he still stands by the budget, even though some companies, like Breakwater Books, report a business tax increase as absurd as 635%.)
A “closed-door” meeting is being held on Sunday with the mayor and the city’s councillors. O’Keefe declares the meeting isn’t about addressing his leadership; it’s to discuss issues currently splitting council down the middle – like media leaks and blame gaming. The very existence of Sunday’s meeting, for example, seems to have been leaked to VOCM. Among recent mud slung the mayor’s way was Councillor Galgay shifting budget-related blame to the fact the mayor never attended any of the financial committee’s meetings in 2015.
Despite the mayor’s claims, sources on council say that this meeting is as much about questioning O’Keefe’s leadership as it is about O’Keefe trying to get council to “act together as a unit.” One could certainly ask: isn’t the point of having multiple elected officials, not just one dictator, the purpose of a city council? It ensures a variety of opinions that will keep any one opinion/decision/budget in check and scrutinized. And one could make the point: a real leader shouldn’t have a divided team — but rather, a gameplan that unifies them.