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Watson crowned city’s newsmaker

Ottawa readers have named him the city’s newsmaker of the year, but if things at city hall continue as smoothly and peacefully as they have the first few weeks under the new council, don’t expect any splashy headlines in 2011.

Ottawa readers have named him the city’s newsmaker of the year, but if things at city hall continue as smoothly and peacefully as they have the first few weeks under the new council, don’t expect any splashy headlines in 2011.

“I hope it is peaceful,” said Watson in an interview with Metro Ottawa recently in his new office.

“The last four years have been challenging for the council and the public. And certainly, the new members… many of them were elected because the public was not satisfied with the way council was conducting its business. Even with the employees, there’s a renewed sense of optimism.”

As council hits the budget cycle next year, there will be differences of opinion, Watson said, but added his hope is that they continue to run the meetings in an efficient and effective fashion.

“That’s what the public expects. They don’t want seven- or eight-hour gab-a-thons, where people are just talking to hear themselves speak. They want us to move certain agenda items forward in a thoughtful but efficient fashion, and that’s what we pride ourselves on.”

While the last council became notorious for its fighting among members, the new one seems more co-operative so far.

“I’m very pleased at the level of co-operation that all of the members of council are showing one another,” said Watson. “And I think the lesson learned on Oct. 25 was that the public sent us a very strong message that they want their city government to work well together and that message has been received by me and by all 23 members of council.

“The very fact that we had a great sense of co-operating on some very big issues early on… I’m very fortunate to have a group of councillors who are talented and want to make this city work better.”

 
 
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