We have talked about a lot of bad behaviour at city halls in the two years this podcast has been running. We’ve seen bullying and threats on social media. We have seen councillors who see their entire reason for existence as disrupting and derailing council meetings. We’ve seen activists and volunteers abused and cross-examined for hours as councillors call their integrity into question. There are councillors who don’t understand the most basic aspects of their job, who constantly need to be reminded about how meetings are supposed to be run. There are councillors who frankly don’t work very hard, but get re-elected because nobody ever knows. There are councillors who work part time on other jobs. There are councillors who seem to take pride in just how rude they can be to constituents.
None of these things apply to Shawna Stolte. Stolte has been a hard-working councillor since she was elected in 2018. She has worked especially hard on Burlington’s tree by-law, housing affordability, and ensuring openness and transparency in council business. In council meetings she is polite and respectful and the opposite of disruptive – even at a meeting that talked for three hours about how much pay she should be docked.
Whether you agree with specific policies or not, Stolte has been an exemplary councillor. She has now announced that she will not seek re-election in October 2022. Why? Because of complaints made by her colleagues against her of revealing confidential information. These complaints followed Stolte’s campaign to have clearer rules via an updated Closed Session Protocol, a campaign that has frequently exasperated and irritated colleagues who make it clear they can’t see any point.
We dedicate this whole episode to discussing one of the most counter-productive and unpleasant events in recent Burlington history.
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Nicholas Paul: sound editing.
The Quadrafonics: fantastic opening and closing tunes!