By Jonathan Willing
Ottawa’s inner-urban councillors are calling for more representation on the de-facto cabinet of council as Mayor Jim Watson oversees a leadership shuffle.
Capital Coun. Shawn Menard, Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney, Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury and Rideau-RockcliffeCoun. Rawlson King wrote to the city clerk on Tuesday asking to “correct this matter” of the central urban areas not having representation on the finance and economic development committee.
“This is an opportunity for us to do right by residents and enhance the diversity of debate,” the letter says. “We implore the Mayor, the Nominating Committee and City Council to respect and embrace democracy by bringing a small modicum of balance to the city’s boards and committees.”
The councillors said they will also seek changes to council’s governance structure. A governance review traditionally happens in the middle of each term.
They shared the letter on social media after the city notified the public of a joint finance committee and nominating committee meeting called for Friday.
According to the city, the joint committee needs to fill five vacancies.
Beacon Hill Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney was recently named transportation chair and he’s resigning his roles as vice-chair of planning committee and vice-chair of the finance committee. He’s also stepping down as chair of the Ottawa Public Library board of trustees.
Tierney will still have a spot on the Watson-chaired finance committee since all other committee chairs, plus the three deputy mayors, automatically get seats.
Stittsville Coun. Glen Gower looks to be leaving his role as chair of the built-heritage subcommittee, which likely means he’s in line for another leadership position on council.
It appears there will be a new council member joining the Shaw Centre board of directors. Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds has been council’s representative on the board.
There could be additional changes to committee memberships if Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais wins a provincial byelection in Orléans. Blais, who stepped down as transportation chair, is running as a Liberal in the Feb. 27 vote.
The inner-urban councillors offered suggestions on who should fill the leadership vacancies. McKenney, they said, should take the at-large position on the finance committee.
The finance committee oversees major corporate files, including budget directions and O-Train construction.