While Brampton businesses are busy recovering from two years of pandemic disruption, the recent conduct of Brampton city councillors continues to erode business confidence. For example, quorum has been missed for two consecutive Council meetings. It’s the third time this year, and the year isn’t even half over. What’s going on?
Apparently, there is a power struggle between council members at City Hall. There was a letter issued by five councillors yesterday, advising that they are working with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the City Clerk to bring resolution to a dispute with the other half of Council. Municipal Affairs Minister Steven Clark will find that two rival factions can’t agree on how to fill the vacancy created by Councillor Williams’ election to provincial parliament earlier this month. Five councillors want a transparent process to appoint a councillor, while five others want their preferred candidate. The magic number to reach majority is six. Let’s not forget, in February, a group of 6 councillors (the majority) issued a manifesto decrying authoritarianism at Council, which resulted in the departure of more than a dozen senior staff, the Integrity Commissioner and CAO. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on severances and forensic audits while councillors throw metaphorical darts at one another. Opportunity costs rise from backlogs of pending development approvals and hesitation grows as more and more businesspeople question the decisions of this Council. And then, there is the biggest cost – Brampton’s reputation.
The question on the minds of Brampton voters, the business community, investors, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, senior governments and everyone that’s watching is pretty straightforward, “If we can’t count on city councillors to conduct the business we elected them for with integrity, do we still need a City Council for Brampton at all?”
Voters won’t have a chance to bring change to City Hall until October 24th’s municipal election. Maybe the question should be, “Minister Clark – is it time for you to bring meaningful municipal reform to Brampton now?”