Does the mayor have the authority to fire someone by herself? The interim CAO, for example? It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot of late by residents.
I think so, but it’s not clear to me in the Municipal Act. She is, after all, legally both the head of council and the chief executive officer, and while related, these two roles can be interpreted differently.
The mayor doesn’t have any more political power than any other member of council (e.g. she gets one vote). But we are the Corporation of the Town of Collingwood and as such shouldn’t our officers – our legal CEO – have the ability to act like their private sector counterparts? Shouldn’t she have more management power and authority, like a CEO?
CEOs in the private sector have such abilities, so why not in the public sector? It seems reasonable to assume that the legislation grants her powers usually ascribed to that corporate title, but she’d need a real legal opinion before doing anything arbitrary.
Under the Municipal Act, section 225, the role of the mayor as head of council is as follows:
225. It is the role of the head of council, (emphasis added below)
- to act as chief executive officer of the municipality;
- to preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
- to provide leadership to the council;
(c.1) without limiting clause (c), to provide information and recommendations to the council with respect to the role of council described in clauses 224 (d) and (d.1);
- to represent the municipality at official functions; and
- to carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 225; 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 100.
Then under section 226, it adds:
Head of council as chief executive officer
226.1 As chief executive officer of a municipality, the head of council shall,
- uphold and promote the purposes of the municipality;
- promote public involvement in the municipality’s activities;
- act as the representative of the municipality both within and outside the municipality, and promote the municipality locally, nationally and internationally; and
- participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality and its residents. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 101.Head of council as chief executive officer.
But a CEO is much more than that in pretty much every other place the title is used. And while fine-sounding, words like uphold, promote, foster and so on are not defined. Isn’t firing someone you believe may be harming the economic, or social well-being of the municipality an activity that upholds and fosters the purposes of the municipality?
Continue reading “Can the mayor fire the interim CAO?”