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Councillors stand firm on Mayoral Dinner

WHILE it may be more than six months away, the 2021 Mayoral Dinner may have one or two empty seats, with at least two councillors who voted against holding the dinner remaining steadfast in their opposition to attending.

Councillor Jennifer Catalano moved a motion, seconded by Claire Scanlan to cancel the 2021 dinner, scheduled to be held in April, at September’s council meeting.

While the motion was defeated, Cr Catalano made it clear she would not be attending.

“I did attend the Mayoral dinner last year and I’m going to tell you I won’t ever attend another one again,” she said.

“I was in semi-darkness most of the time and I can tell you that I wasn’t introduced to anyone that would bring investment into the Altone Ward, my ward, or even the City.”

Since the meeting, Cr Rashelle Predovnik, who campaigned for council on a platform that included cancelling the Mayoral dinner, declared publicly that she too would not be attending.

She told Echo News that in all good conscience she could not support the event.

“I won’t be attending any mayoral dinners during my time on council,” she said.

“In May this year, I successfully argued for the creation of a COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy to help ratepayers and I think as a council we can still do more here.

“Many of our ratepayers are really struggling and I think it’s time to rethink long held traditions.

“We can consider other more cost-effective ways to continue the City’s excellent advocacy efforts, and for the mayoral dinner funds to be redirected into our communities.

“Because in this day and age, and in this current economic climate, that’s what our communities expect.”

However other councillors who voted against the dinner were not so steadfast.

Councillor Ian Johnson told Echo News that while he would still attend, he would “pay his own way” at the event in an effort to gauge the true cost and ensure his attendance would be at no cost to the community.

Cr Andrew Kiely, who asked to hear the debate at council as he was in two minds over the event, said there were more important issues being discussed at council and, with the dinner so far away, couldn’t say if he would attend or not.

On the other hand, Cr Claire Scanlan confirmed she would definitely attend the dinner.

“The reason I am  [attending] is because the ratepayers pay for it, and while I believe there are better ways to advocate for the ratepayers, the  decision has been made by council and the money will be spent regardless of if I attend or not so I am going to fulfill my obligations to ratepayers.”

Councillor Tanya Richardson did not respond to an email  from Echo News asking her if she would attend the dinner.

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One comment

  1. For starters I have to say I would expect a far more attractive setup that what is shown here.

    I have eaten in military mess halls that look like this. Very underwhelming.

    But why is the Echo running this story now, a seat at the table on offer?

    Kudos to Cr’s Catalano and Predovnik for taking a stand, standing on principle, not fence sitting.

    I also must say offering excuses or offering to pay your own way is laughable IMO, you’re either for or against, no in-betweens. I certainly did not vote for councillors to participate in gross waste, I wish I had a crystal ball a couple of years ago.

    But what the Senior Journalist omitted is the budgeted cost, as per the minutes, SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, and some of them are worried about a couple of hundred bucks on legal advice. Last year’s cost FIFTY FIVE THOUSANT DOLLARS.

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