Friday 2 March 2012

Counting the votes: Gloria Lindsay Luby edition

When Gary Webster was fired last week I spoke to some councillors beforehand and afterwards for a piece on the day's events that I was hoping to sell to a publication. Between one thing and another that didn't happen, but I had a really interesting conversation with Etobicoke councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby. 

I'm reminded of that conversation because chatter on Twitter between Matt Elliott and John McGrath pointed to the March 21 vote on the Sheppard line potentially being close. As McGrath writes at OpenFile, Pasternak will support team Ford on this, but they'll need Lindsay Luby and others to flip too. 

Given how they voted to not excuse her from the special transit vote and the interview below, I say she's not in a sympathetic place when it comes to Team Ford:

How do you feel about this process [of hypothetically firing Gary Webster]?
I think it's disgusting. He's very competent. He's an engineer. I find him- and I've been through two previous managers- to be definitely the best. He listens, he's conciliatory, he wants to help and he's knowledgeable. 

I think they just want to hire someone who is going to kiss the mayor's ring. That's just not the way it works. 

Do you see this as payback for the council vote [to affirm the 2009 LRT MoA]?
I do not understand what goes through their minds, I really don't. I don't even want to try (she laughs). 

There seems to be a governance approach that, for the lack of a better term, has an element of spite to it. 
The vindictiveness is very clear. Whether it is to members of council or to staff. Do as I say. 

Do you feel that personally as well? 
Oh sure. Oh definitely. 

In what ways does that manifest itself? 
Many ways, actually. Whether it's specifically to vote against me on certain things, yeah, I do feel it. 

What advice would you give to the Ford administration to turn this around? 
Learn to work with council. 

So what are the best ways to reach out to council? 
Just because a mayor is elected on a platform doesn't mean all members of council have to follow that platform. We're all elected independently, so I'm going to be following what I think is the right thing not only for my constituents but for the city. We're not a bunch of bimbos that can be led by the nose. We're intelligent people and you have to deal with us intelligently. That's not what I'm seeing happen. 

You were a management consultant for a number of years. If you were doing a report on the management here at City Hall, what would it say? 
Well you have to look at two sides, the elected and staff side. I just can't put it into one word. There would be many, many recommendations. I find the hardest ones to deal with are on the elected side. That comes from an experience I had many years ago in a small municipality in New Brunswick where the elected members didn't get along with the mayor and the mayor basically didn't understand what he was doing. 

So, they had all sorts of issues and they called in the RCMP and it was a very complicated situation. The final analysis is we tried to get them to work together. But their election was coming up. And I said to members of council, if you want to run for mayor, just one of you do it, not all of you. Well you know what they did. None of them got elected. 

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