Our mayor is a great actor, but I’m the acting mayor!

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Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein at the June 12, 2017 Council meeting

I’m always honoured, and somewhat excited, when my turn comes up in the council rotation to serve as Acting Mayor. This week a resolution was adopted that read:

“Be it resolved that Councillor Glenn J. Nashen is and shall be named Acting Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, effective July 1, 2017 up to and until September 30, 2017 inclusively, and further that the aforementioned Councillor Nashen shall have and may exercise the powers of the Mayor when the said Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office.”

Last time I served in this capacity our mayor, Anthony Housefather was elected to Parliament and I suddenly found myself serving as the actual Mayor of the City for two months (November and December 2015). This time around, while I may be the acting mayor I can assure you that our current mayor, Mitchell Brownstein, is the real actor.

Founder and executive producer of the CSL Dramatic Society, Brownstein has performed in nearly every production and is currently starring in the Little Shop of Horrors, on stage now in the CSL Harold Greenspon Auditorium (through June 25).

It’s a privilege to serve my community and to always be ready, just in case.

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Tales of an Accidental Mayor

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My first public council meeting as Acting mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

My first public council meeting as Acting mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

As my term as Acting Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc drew to a close I sat down to ponder this unique experience.

Cote Saint-Luc follows a tradition typical in many municipalities by having each of its councillors alternate as Acting Mayor should the duly elected mayor be unable to fulfill his or her functions. My latest turn in the eight-person rotation covered the last three months of 2015 so with the resignation of Mayor Anthony Housefather on November 4, 2015 subsequent to his election as Member of Parliament for Mount Royal I immediately and seamlessly assumed the role of Mayor of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.

What a time of year to take over! We went straight into intensive planning for the next year’s budget which has ramifications for all residents and taxpayers, for employees and contractors. Presiding over such meetings is no easy feat as passions flare, opinions clash and nerves get frayed. Thankfully, our City Council functions quite harmoniously.

Public Council meeting November 2015

Public Council meeting November 2015

In planning for the $67 million budget and much more in the triennial capital expenditures we needed to consider services to residents, infrastructure upgrade and maintenance, staffing, fleet acquisition, service contracts for snow clearing to name some of the major issues. There was also the little matter of requesting a ministerial extension on the prescribed election period in order to allow enough time for the majority of our snowbirds to be back home in time to vote for our next mayor.

Dealing with human resource issues is never an easy topic. With personnel expenses reaching 70% of our operating budget it’s not possible to look at trimming budgets in difficult years without affecting staff. This was the sad reality that we had to confront.  Decisions were made based upon business plans and economic factors despite the inevitable emotional tone.

I dealt with many emails and inquiries on the change in library opening hours and wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Suburban Newspaper.  Several emails praised the city for its superb handling of the first snow storm of the season. I was updated on two late night major house fires as well as an early morning bank robbery with suspects at large. A ride up in the city’s “cherry-picker” to light the Chanukah Menorah and greeting residents in four languages was quite special. I also attended a Russian holiday festivity and caroled outdoors to welcome Christmas while lighting the tree in front of City Hall.

High above the crowd, Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen prepares to light the giant Chanukah Menorah and sing the prayers

High above the crowd, Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen prepares to light the giant Chanukah Menorah and sing the prayers

Back inside I presided over several public meetings, keeping decorum, steering the agenda and fielding questions from the public and media. Most inquiries were rather pleasant and positive. Unfortunately, some were downright aggressive and nasty. I presented the Annual Report of the Mayor, a lengthy speech about the city’s performance over the past year and predictions of financial intentions and plans for the next year. The “In-Committee” meetings go on for hours and hours, usually to midnight, sometimes beyond.

All this takes place after hours, as mayors and councillors in all but the largest cities typically have careers that are the mainstay of their livelihood. So, for those of us with families, young children and responsibilities at home this means lots and lots of time away. I cannot thank my wife, Judy, enough for constantly supporting my political activity and managing an extremely busy household alongside her own 24/7 practice. My children, Jeremy, Nathalie and Nicole are usually rather forgiving having experienced (since birth) that daddy is constantly checking emails, taking calls and out at meetings and events, missing dinner, playtime and unfortunately some special moments. This harrowing routine continues late into the night and into the weekends. It follows you on vacation. It’s never-ending.

A very happy Nasen family receives the election results at City Hall, November 2013

A very happy Nashen family receives the election results at City Hall, November 2013

On the whole, serving as Acting Mayor has been an immense privilege and honour, an experience that was both personally and professionally rewarding. Thank you Allan, Dida, Mike, Mitch, Steven, Ruth, Sam, Nadia and Anthony too! Although it only lasted eight weeks I must say it was one of the most interesting periods in my 25 years since being elected. The demands are unending and thanks to the support of council and a truly dedicated administration the job is manageable and incredibly interesting.

I pass the torch to Councillor Dida Berku for the next three months. Council and management will continue to be there to back her up and keep the city on course until the elections when we choose our next mayor.
Cote Saint-Luc City Council: Nov. 2015 to April 2016

Cote Saint-Luc City Council: Nov. 2015 to April 2016

And thanks to all of you who wrote, called, asked questions and engaged your elected representatives in the best interest of our wonderful city. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to getting this chance again some day, preferably not by accident.

The Accidental Mayor: Celebrating 25 Years

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My first public council meeting as Acting mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

My first public council meeting as Acting Mayor of the City of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

At our last public meeting we bid farewell to our good friend and consummate mayor, Anthony Housefather. Last night, it was a distinct honour for me to preside over the City Council meeting in my capacity as Acting Mayor of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.
It was truly an honour as I consider my service on council to be a privilege and last night was one of distinction in that it is exactly 25 years ago since I was first elected to this venerable body, together with my colleagues Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac and Dida Berku.  I congratulate them for this important milestone in our political lives, as well as to Councillor Allan J. Levine for his remarkable 25 plus years on council since his first election in 1986.
25YrLogo
As for Councillors Steven Erdelyi, Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom, our youngsters on council, they have devoted the last 10 years to the work of the council, and together we have all worked collaboratively and respectfully, for which I am very grateful.
We have a dedicated and talented group of councillors in CSL, along with a dynamic and creative administration led by Tanya Abramovitch, Nadia Di Furia and Jonathan Shecter,  all of whom are focused on delivering quality services and programs to our residents.
Together, we will work hard to ensure a smooth period of transition, maintaining a stable and responsible local government here in the City of CSL.
Soon we will begin the process of electing a new mayor to fill the vacancy. Given that it was my turn to be ready to step up if the actual mayor could not fulfill his role for whatever reason, I will follow in Anthony’s very large shoes and I will indeed step up to serve as the Accidental Mayor.

 

More than Acting Mayor this time around

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Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

It’s always an honour and somewhat exciting when my turn comes around for duty as Acting Mayor. Last week City Council voted me in as the next Pro-Mayor, or interim, for the next three months.

In Cote Saint-Luc we have a tradition of rotating the Pro-Mayor position among the full council. So once every two years my name is called:

“Be it resolved that Councillor Glenn J. Nashen is and shall be named Acting Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, effective immediately up to and until December 31, 2015 inclusively, and further that the aforementioned Councillor Nashen shall have and may exercise the powers of the Mayor when the said Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office.”

The timing of this resolution is quite important given that the federal election is coming up in two weeks and that our very own mayor is a major contender for the next Member of Parliament for Mount Royal.

So despite my bloggings about this appointment when it last came up two years ago when I wrote: “Rest assured, dear citizens. As ready as I am to assume the chair, albeit temporarily, of His Worship the Mayor, the only way this will happen is if an early, freak nor’easter grounds Anthony’s next flight overnight in NYC!”, this time might very well be the Real Deal.

While I am always pleased to serve the public as Councillor of District 6 I will be ready to do what is necessary for our city to ensure that the Office of Mayor is functioning as always, if need be.

My appointment as Acting Mayor

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Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

I’m always honoured, and slightly excited, when my turn comes around for duty as Acting Mayor as it did last night at the public council meeting.  In Cote Saint-Luc we have a tradition of rotating the Acting Mayor (also known as Pro-Mayor) position among the full council. So once every two years my name is called:

Hear Yea, Hear Yea (OK, we stopped doing that part in the 18th century when CSL was but a big farm):

“Be it resolved that Councillor Glenn J. Nashen is and shall be named Acting Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, effective immediately up to and until December 31, 2013 inclusively, and further that the aforementioned Councillor Nashen shall have and may exercise the powers of the Mayor when the said Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office.”

Normally I’d get quite excited.  This could be a big to do. Think again.

We have what must be the healthiest sitting mayor in all of Canada. Mayor Anthony Housefather is an athlete that competes on the world stage.  He swims and otherwise works out eight days a week. Sharp, witty and wise beyond his years he can take on the best of them, in the debating arena or the swimming pool, the tennis court or the jogging track.

Congratulations to Anthony Housefather on his seven swimming medals at the Maccabiah Games

Mayor Anthony Housefather takes home seven swimming medals for Canada at the Summer 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel

So rest assured, dear citizens. As ready as I am to assume the chair, albeit temporarily, of His Worship the Mayor, the only way this will happen is if an early, freak nor’easter grounds his next flight overnight in NYC!

In the meantime, I’ll be dutifully conducting my responsibilities as Councillor of District 6.

Nashen appointed as Acting Mayor

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Councillor Glenn J. Nashen was named Acting Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, effective October 1, 2011 until December 31, 2011.  Nashen may exercise the powers of the Mayor when the Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office.