Another Case of Municipal Corruption Highlights Need for Separation Between Council and City Administration

Blog, Municipal Government, Steve Lafleur

Today I had an article in the Huffington Post on how the City of Phoenix bars municipal politicians from getting directly involved in city operations to reduce the prospects for shading dealings with developers. I mentioned recent cases in Winnipeg and Toronto that may or may not have involved wrong doing. Sure enough, today’s National Post has an article about a Montreal corruption inquiry, in which a powerful Montreal politician has been accused of taking $300,000 in bribes. This is yet another example of why Canadian cities should create a separation between municipal politicians and city operations. As long as we’ve got politicians brokering deals with developers for variances or spearheading land purchases, city halls across the country will continue to operate under a fog of suspicion. Moreover, civil servants are properly trained to deal with administrative issues, and city councilors are not. We elect municipal politicians because we agree with the strategic direction that they advocate for. But setting the city’s priorities is all that they should do.