Check in with Windsor’s Strong Mayor powers a year later

On July 1, 2023, Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, was granted strong mayoral powers by the province.

“I feel very comfortable with the decisions I’ve made with the new changes to the Municipal Code and will continue to do so going forward,” said Dilkens, who has signed off after every council meeting without using those veto powers against someone. question since then.

He has also made 36 mayoral decisions.

“Of the 30-plus mayoral decisions, 20 have been driven just by the type of general operations of the mill,” Dilkens said.

“The Prime Minister was very clear that this is related to housing in many ways, but he also had a very clear intention to say that mayors have a special role that was not spelled out in previous local government laws.”

Three of the mayoral decisions were about budget announcements and 12 decision letters were about promotions and dismissals.

“When it comes to structural changes in the organization, they all had an opportunity,” he said.

“They all took the opportunity to come in and talk about the personnel changes that we’ve made. They all knew about the changes that were coming so they’ve been a part of the process.”

To learn more about the process, councilors sat in on an information session on Wednesday morning to learn more about the special powers and responsibilities of the council leader.

“I’m glad we deepened our collective understanding of what strong mayoral powers are, but I’m no more enthusiastic about the fact that they exist in the first place after the discussion we had today,” said Ward 9 Councilor Kieran McKenzie, who gives Dilkens credit.

“I think he has worked hard in some of the areas, where it could potentially fall under the jurisdiction of stronger powers, to get council support, make sure there is a public open debate that takes place around these issues.”

After, among other things, going through the budget process, many city councilors believe that the operation has been transparent since July last year.

“There’s always things that you’d say, ‘have they taken away some of our power?'” But I think there’s still a process that we can work within, said Councilor Jim Morrison.

As explained during the information session, part of the process is understanding four key concepts that give the mayor greater decision-making weight. The mayor has proactive powers, reactive or veto powers. Everything that relates to landscape priorities, such as housing, and only applies to the Municipal Act, the Planning and Development Charges Act and their regulations.”

“I think the province should review what they’ve done. And not just the government, but all the parties in the legislature should consider whether or not to repeal this primary provision altogether.” McKenzie said. “I think they should.”

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