Can the Weak-Mayor*, No-Party System Control City Spending?

Frank Murphy — October 6, 2010
Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson explored some of the issues facing municipalities in Canada in his weekend column: Dear Toronto: A Warning From Your Ottawa Cousins. Most of his points are echoes of Alan Broadbent’s book Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong, which I talked about in my Sept. 16 post.  I’m surprised that in neither, is there a discussion of the lack of costs control in cities. The assumption seems to be that the great corrective element is the ballot box. I’d like to see the development of an office (independent of individual municipalities and probably under provincial authority) of combined responsibilities of audit, ombudsman, cost/benefit analyses, strategic planning overview and the resources needed to deliver these to City Councils and Senior Management.

Speaking of Alan Broadbent and his book Urban Nation he’ll be conducting a free webinar Thursday, October 28, 2010 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (ET). It will start with a presentation followed by a discussion: How can cities be enabled to play a greater role in the country’s prosperity?

I continue to find it curious that there isn’t more discussion about the reform of municipal government. Do share, bloggers, anything you come across.

*The term weak-mayor describes a system of municipal government. A strong mayor system as found in American cities gives the Mayor more power and funds his or her support staff.