In a recent post in Northumberland Today, Jeff Gard wrote an article about a protest outside Vic Hall on Sunday 26 Feb. The protest was organised by Ryan Crossen against the recent pay increases Cobourg Council awarded themselves during the recent budget discussions.
Mayor Lucas Cleveland and Cllr Adam Bureau attended the event which attracted a reported 30 people. Cllr Burchat also appeared where he defended his position to vote for a process to implement pay raises as a member of the previous Council. The Mayor engaged in debate/rebuttal/conversation and stated his position on the Budget and its ramifications. As we read the article the BurdReport thought that these remarks were very revealing as the Mayor took great pains to lay most of the blame for the hikes on the Citizenry who asked for the services and the Council that approved them.
If the BurdReport recalls the new Mayor was criticised heavily for not pushing policy during his campaign, offering his candidacy as a successful businessman who knows how to lead. If this recent display of engagement is any indication of leadership, we respectfully disagree. Publicly distancing himself from Council decisions will not endear him to the rest of Council. As the Mayor he should be defending the collective instead of his position. We can hardly wait for a report of the next Council ‘bonding session’. The Mayor’s vision of Cobourg was rejected by his Council during the Budget discussions. The question of leadership is now crucial, we have never seen such a divergence in philosophy in public before.
A selection of remarks culled from the article reveal the position of the Mayor. To his credit he has been saying the same things about the need for larger tax increases during the Budget discussions, such a pity that these ideas did not emerge during the election campaign.
Another woman told Cleveland he was elected in October knowing what the remuneration rate was. “And in October I also went around and told everyone that this is exactly what I would do,” the mayor said. One man said no councillor campaigned on increasing remuneration. The mayor responded that he did.
The man said the mayor raised his property taxes. “I didn’t raise your property taxes,” Cleveland said. “The council did a spectacular job, the council voted to listen to the public.”
Mayor Cleveland said. “Your council voted 30 times against me because they listened to you guys. The councillors listened, your taxes are where they’re at because the council listened to the hundreds of e-mails that were sent in to pay $250,000 to your pickleball courts. The council listened to your ask to keep the pool open despite it being a terrible decision.”
Mayor Cleveland reiterated the tax hike is because of councillors listening to the wants of the community.
In conclusion we say that it is going to be interesting to watch Council dynamics after this report. We would also say that for a Mayor that prided himself, during the election campaign as a team builder we guess that his position is that the team has to be destroyed before building a new one.
Good luck with that!