After experiencing life in the mayor’s chair, Osgoode Coun. Doug Thompson is convinced that Ottawa needs someone in the deputy mayor’s position full time.
While Mayor Larry O’Brien was on a leave of absence for his trial, his duties were assumed by the deputy mayor, a position that councillors rotated through on a two-month basis.
Thompson served as deputy to Michel Bellemare for the first two months, then as acting mayor for the last month.
Political action at city hall slows down dramatically in the summer, but Thompson said as mayor, he was putting in very long days. Two weeks ago, Thompson said he made six trips to the flooded areas in Kanata and last week, he formally received a delegation from China and met with the ambassador from Argentina, who stopped for a courtesy call.
“You go from one thing to another, to another,” said Thompson. “Given the size of our city and complexity of the position, I really believe that we should have a deputy mayor.”
Thompson said a more permanent deputy mayor could share the ceremonial and social responsibilities and take the lead on some key issues.
“If I was mayor, I would like to have someone that I could designate a file to — Lansdowne Park, for example,” said Thompson.
It’s unlikely that the position could be created in time for the next election, but Thompson said it was something that the next council should seriously investigate for the 2014 election.