News / London

Behave yourselves: Mayor Joni Baechler to London councillors

Mind your manners, Mayor Joni Baechler told her colleagues Tuesday night in a sharp rebuke to feuding councillors.

There’s been no shortage of conflict in recent years on London City Council, with arguments, finger-wagging, red faces and personal acrimony sometimes overshadowing city business.

Baechler wants none of it. As she began her first full meeting of council since taking over from Joe Fontana, she had a no-nonsense message for everyone, inspired, in part, by comments she invited from people on Twitter Monday night.

“The people of London have bestowed faith on us to make important decisions in this term and that will continue tonight,” Baechler said Tuesday at city hall. “The message from our public is very clear and was delivered in a consistent, persistent and, I would say, frank manner.”

If it was an “infrequent” problem, she said, she wouldn’t be making such comments.

But, Baechler added, the people of London want their councillors to act in a “professional, responsible” manner.

That rebuke isn’t where it stopped, though.

Baechler is also asking the city clerk to examine if an integrity commissioner can be brought in to police council members’ behaviour and make sure they stick to their code of conduct.

There will still be disagreements, the mayor noted, but they should involve “professional, respectful conduct.”

But the final arbiter of councillors’ behaviour will be the public, Baechler said, reminding everyone that there is an election coming this fall.

Baechler’s not running, but most other councillors are.

“The manner in which we conduct business between now and the election will send a message, perhaps positively or negatively, to your constituents,” she said.

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