Years ago, I had a colleague who wore many hats. He was a marketing specialist, but he was also a writer and occasionally a trainer. Consequently, he had a number of different email signatures. Just for fun, he had one email signature that read “Vice President of Awesome”. He wanted to see if anyone would ever notice (no one ever did).
I thought about my buddy when I read this story about Mark Taylor and his fondness for the Deputy Mayor title:
Mark Taylor has used taxpayers’ money to buy embroidered jackets, pewter lapel pins and a special seal for embossing certificates in order to brand himself as Ottawa’s deputy mayor — a largely ceremonial post that requires him to attend events Jim Watson can’t.
The second-term city councillor for Bay ward has spent more than $3,500 since being appointed to the job last year — almost four times what the other deputy mayor, Orléans Coun. Bob Monette, has spent on letterhead, business cards and magnets, according to documents obtained by the Citizen through a freedom-of-information request.
Now, I’m not going to say that Deputy Mayor is a fake title…but it is made up. Watson has basically designated two mini-mes to show up at breakfasts and church bazaars when Watson decides to break a pelvis. It’s a useful enough job (Watson can’t be everywhere, though he really does try), but it’s pretty meaningless.
So it’s really gross that he has spent so much money stroking his ego. It’s like he made us all buy him jackets that read, “Jim Watson is my BFF”, because that’s about the gist of it (except for the existence of Bob Monette).
It’s wasteful, it’s narcissistic and it’s contemptuous of the public.
Worse, still, is Taylor seems to think this is an actual leadership position, all the while showing zero leadership.
Pay attention to council and the goings-on of the city. Who are the councillors who are out in front of city and ward issues? Catherine McKenney, Tobi Nussbaum, Mathieu Fleury, Jeff Leiper, Diane Deans, Riley Brockington…hell, even Jan Harder (with whom I tend to disagree) shows much more leadership than Mark Taylor.
In fact, there are few councillors who are less present than Mark Taylor. If I was to list the councillors who seem to have the lowest profile, I would actually list both Deputy Mayors, Monette and Taylor.
There was some chatter that Taylor was chosen for the role because Watson was grooming him. Taylor has a lot of political experience, so it was reasonable to think he might be eyeing bigger things (at the local level, or at the provincial or federal level). But, more and more, I’m thinking Watson has chosen dutiful lieutenants who will never outshine him.