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Inside City Hall: Things a rookie Councillor learns quickly

By Apartment613 on April 20, 2011

Photo courtesy of Mathieu Fleury.

Post by Mathieu Fleury, Rideau-Vanier councillor, Ottawa native and lover of the great outdoors. The youngest member of city council, Coun. Fleury will be giving us the inside scoop on what’s going on at 110 Laurier Ave. West in his periodic column.

When I ran for Council, I was told that being a Councillor would require a change from my normal life as a lifeguard at Plant pool to working as an elected representative at City Hall. Here are a few examples that jumped out right away when I started as a Councillor, and required a lot of adjustment on my part:

  • Procrastinating (a skill I mastered at as a university student) is not an option when you represent a non-stop ward like Rideau-Vanier;
  • Getting from meeting to meeting on public transit is difficult (but I do my best!);
  • Monday to Friday, 9-5 work weeks are unheard of! With the bevy of community meetings and events, it’s rare that I am home before 11pm.
  • That said, community meetings and events often come with delicious food. I’m going to regain my ‘freshmen 15’ at this rate.
  • The best way to judge if you’re doing your job well and responding to the needs of your residents, is if you don’t get many complaints. Similarly, if you aren’t doing well, you know it.
  • City Council reports don’t have an “abstract” section like university articles;
  • No more jeans… even on Fridays;
  • Cycling to work becomes very challenging and awkward in a suit and tie;
  • Personal time becomes extremely precious, but you still have to make time for it;
  • No one on City Council gets my Jersey Shore jokes. When’s “t-shirt time” guys?

I hope this provides you some insight into the rip-roaring world of Municipal Politics.