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A council in ‘chaos’ – Metro US

A council in ‘chaos’

Under the current system, city council is “dysfunctional” and headed toward “chaos,” according to the Mayor’s Taskforce on Governance.

After conducting extensive interviews, task force chairman David Zussman said there was an overwhelming sentiment that the current governance system was not working and needs to be changed.

“In essence, we heard that Ottawa suffered from not having a coherent government because today, we have a city government by a committee of 24 individuals who, for a number of reasons, lack a citywide view,” he said.?

The report also states that the city lacks a proper split between legislative, executive, and administrative functions; that the mayor, the only official elected by the entire city, has only one vote on council, meaning that he has limited ability to lead and manage strategic agenda; and that council micromanages projects better left to city staff.

Among the recommendations in the report titled Governing Ottawa: Strategic Thinking for a Winning City, the task force called for council to create an executive committee, composed of committee chairs and chaired by the mayor.

The task force also recommended an audit and finance committee to ensure city funds are managed in accordance with the overall plan.? Rideau Goulbourn Coun. Glen Brooks said members of an executive committee would have a huge advantage over their fellow councillors.?

“They have the power to influence,” he said. “It depends how you wield that power. That concerns me somewhat.”?

The recommendations were integrated and would not be effective if implemented in half measures, said Zussman.?

“If we do not adopt this or something like this, we will end up having the same system we’ve had for the last decade,” he said, which would eventually lead to “chaos (and) an inability to deal with the big issues that the city has been trying to deal with in the last few years.”?

Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen said there are elements of the report worth looking at, but took exception to the evaluation that no change would lead to chaos.?

“Just the notion that we have to adopt this report or it’s chaos does a disservice to how we’ve developed this city through the community and the generations of city councils,” he said.

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