There were no promises of quick fixes or easy solutions in David Sanders' first mayoral news conference.
Instead, the retired provincial bureaucrat promised to regain control of the civic administration and engage citizens in the decision-making process at city hall.
"I am seeking a strong electoral mandate to turn over all the rocks at city hall to ensure that here will be significant consequences for all those who have acted improperly, or who have failed to act properly," Sanders said during a Tuesday morning news conference from under the canopy at The Forks.
But it may be a case of too late and too little for Sanders. He only registered his campaign three weeks ago, and while other candidates have spoken in depth about the merits of tax increases and freezes, rapid transit, mosquito fogging and infrastructure, Sanders said nothing about these issues at his inaugural campaign event.
Sanders has been a frequent visitor at city council and committee meetings during the past year, where he established a reputation for sharing his stinging rebukes of senior administrators he insists have been deliberately misleading members of council in a series of mismanaged projects and skyrocketing project increases.
Included among Sanders’ commitments:
- Suspend the signing authority of senior administrators for all major projects pending a council review and status update.
- Expedite the hiring of a new chief administrative officer.
- Performance reviews of all senior administrators.
- Establish an employee code of conduct committee and provide whistleblower protection for all city staff.
- Establish an open government with online disclosure of a variety of reports, including councillor attendance and voting records, conflict of interest disclosures, and contract awards.
- Publish a civic phone directory for all departments and relegate 311 queries for which people do not know whom to contact.
Sanders said city councillors need to take a greater role in the decision-making process, adding that too much of that has been hijacked by senior administrators.
"I believe that council must reassert informed control over major city plans, projects and program decisions," Sanders said. "By virtue of their election, city council members are uniquely qualified to represent the values of our citizens and they must never delegate that role to the civic administrations."
Unlike other mayoral candidates who have released a growing list of pet projects they’d either pursue or cancel, Sanders said city hall should give priority to projects that will maintain and enhance economic growth. He didn't say which projects he personally favours.