Here’s Why Toronto Beats Ottawa In Politics: BENN

Saturday columnist Ron Benn looks at the human interrelationship involved in good governance:

I asked a former prominent city politician what he considers to be an important element of a senior city manager’s role. His response was the ability to not just dial the direct number of a deputy minister, but to have the deputy minister answer the call, or return that call promptly. This is the result of the process of building relationships. Building relationships takes time. It takes effort. It takes mutual respect.

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Why is this element of the job so important? Because requests that go through the proscribed channels (most of which start at no higher than mid-manager) can stall out for a whole host of reasons. Requests that start at or near the top generally get more attention from the next level down, and the level below that, than those that start from below.

Take the example of Toronto’s recent multi-billion dollar bail out by the provincial government. The discussions that took place were not just between Mayor Olivia Chow and Premier Doug Ford. They have known each other for many years. Their relationship may have been somewhat adversarial, but likely rooted in mutual respect.

So, does Mayor Mark Sutcliffe have those kinds of relationships at the provincial and federal levels? How about City Manager Wendy Stephenson?


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