Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit August 09, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Iqaluit mayor to attend meetings of city senior managers

“We have the city saying one thing to the Government of Nunavut and the mayor saying another”

BETH BROWN
Coun. Joanasie Akumalik at the Aug. 8 meeting of Iqaluit City Council. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Coun. Joanasie Akumalik at the Aug. 8 meeting of Iqaluit City Council. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern will now sit in on weekly staff meetings held by city directors—despite opposition from the chief administrative officer, Muhamud Hassan.

Councillors approved a motion to have the mayor attend high-level meetings of the city’s senior managers, in an effort to keep elected officials on the same wavelength as the administration.

Iqaluit’s deputy mayor, Romeyn Stevenson, brought up the motion as a discussion item during an Aug. 8 council meeting.

“The city is often not on the same page,” he said. “We have the city saying one thing to the Government of Nunavut and the mayor saying another. Not because we disagree, but because we don’t know where we’re at.”

Redfern noted that while she was not at all responsible for supervising city directors, her attendance at administrative meetings would help the council move forward with larger files, such as putting the city’s strategic plan in place.

“It’s a timing issue and an awareness issue,” she said. “We’ve not necessarily been in tandem.” 

Redfern suggested her attendance could be limited to meetings where issues that require “significant politicking” are on the agenda, versus day-to-day operational issues. 

But some councillors said they are against the move—which Hassan opposed over a year ago and still opposes—because it could give the mayor too much influence over operations.

Coun. Kuthula Matshazi called the motion a convenient route, but one that overlooks existing tools to keep council and administration on the same page.

“There might be a difference in communication because people are not getting the same information at the same time… that’s a performance issue,” Matshazi said.

“If the CAO is not giving us information we should hold him to account.”

He suggested that the decision to include the mayor in the meetings might need more legal review. 

“If we are to go down that route, we really have to be careful,” he said. 

Mayoral attendance could also make city staff feel as though municipal politicians were looking over their shoulders, and, friction between staff and council shouldn’t be treated lightly, Matshazi said.

“There’s obviously a power struggle here,” said Coun. Joanasie Akumalik. “Let’s play by the rules, so that we don’t make this up tonight.”

Akumalik asked to see more paperwork showing that the decision was in line with mayoral responsibilities, and on how the motion will be put into practice.

Should the mayor be out of town, “will this also mean the deputy mayor can go?” Akumalik asked. “How is that going to change the job description of the mayor, deputy mayor, and councillors?”

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(13) Comments:

#1. Posted by Joseph Amos on August 09, 2017

Hey it is about time and other municipalities should follow suite and have the elected Mayor attending mgmt. meetings.

It is bad when the administration and council are not on the same page of events in dealing with the territorial government.

#2. Posted by sled dog on August 09, 2017

as a finance director for a municipality, this is plain wrong. If the City operates under a one employee rule then the Mayor needs to stay out of the day to day workings and administration. Under this new scheme, the Mayor now gets set up to be the go between from staff to Council. That is not the role and resp. for the mayor

Madeleine, whom I respect knows better. The role of the CAO is to report to Council and from Council to staff. That is the job. If IQ Council has no faith in the current CAO, then the writing is on the wall and the CAO must go.

To set this precedent is irresponsible and weakens the governance process.

#3. Posted by sled dog on August 09, 2017

forgot to mention, Perhaps the City Council needs to consider going in camera since they are essentially speaking to a job performance issue and ultimately, an employee relationship.

Those discussion should not be held in public—> ever.  So, Council, give your heads a collective shake.

#4. Posted by Read the Act on August 09, 2017

Read the Act. The Mayor is the only Council Member who can provide direction tot he Officers of the Corporation.

From the Act
Responsibility to council
40.    (1) The mayor, as senior executive officer of a municipal corporation, shall
communicate to the council information and recommend to it measures, within the
authority of the council, that, in the opinion of the mayor, may be necessary in the public
interest.

Direction to officers
    (2) The mayor shall provide direction to the officers of the municipal corporation.


So… this is exactly what the Mayor is doing! Keep up the good work Madeleine

#5. Posted by Sled Dog fact checker on August 09, 2017

Redfern suggested her attendance could be limited to meetings where issues that require “significant politicking” are on the agenda, versus day-to-day operational issues.

#6. Posted by fact checking #5 on August 09, 2017

“Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern will now sit in on weekly staff meetings held by city directors. Councillors approved a motion to have the mayor attend high-level meetings of the city’s senior managers.”

so which is it. Sits in on all weekly meetings, the “undefined” high level ones which seems to be the directive of Council or just ones deemed to need significant politicking.

who gets to decide if it is routine, high level or needs significant politicking. Is that the Mayor’s choice, the CAO’s discretion or does council as a whole have a say then when she does or does not sit in.

you figure it out and get back to me. Bad policy is bad policy. in fact, this is Trump like bad policy

#7. Posted by Uncle Bob on August 09, 2017

Great to see the city managers becoming monitored and answerable through the public elected members, nothing is worst when the management system breaks down into a dictatorship and the members of the community are kept in the dark on community issues

#8. Posted by Surprised on August 09, 2017

Iqaluit is going to be a poster child of why not to legislate interference. I am sure the rest of Canada is watching in great disbelief!

#9. Posted by Fact on August 10, 2017

Bad choice by the mayor on this one, poor governance and micro management by the mayor.
If you do not get the proper information from your CAO (your only staff) than you remedy that problem, not become the CAO/mayor.
I’m sure the CAO is considering his resignation.

#10. Posted by Scott on August 10, 2017

I doubt that she will attend every week. She seems to travel a lot and spend time away from Iqaluit.

#11. Posted by Common Sense on August 10, 2017

If council and city management aren’t on the same page information wise then that is an issue with the CAO. If the receptionist or the water truck driver wasn’t doing their job would the Mayor have to step in there and do that too? No of course not. Sounds like the proper steps are discipline and dismissal if it’s not corrected by the CAO.

#12. Posted by Mariner on August 11, 2017

My understanding is that the current SAO did not do that well as the SAO in the Belcher’s.

#13. Posted by Kanuwhipit on August 14, 2017

#12, The news said he was hired in Iqaluit because he wiped the deficit out in Sanikiluaq. Maybe he is good with finances but doesn’t have people skills?

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