Bussin, McMahon transition stand off

No smooth transition in Beaches post election
Neither Sandra Bussin or Mary-Margaret McMahon called either other
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 11)

Mary-Margaret McMahon is sworn in as Ward 32 councillor Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of Mary-Margaret McMahon.

Councillor Sandra Bussin has been criticized for not reaching out to Mary-Margaet McMahon, who soundly defeated her in the Oct. 25 election.
“I have not heard from (Bussin) or her staff. It’s disappointing,” McMahon told the Town Crier Nov. 9.
But communication is a two-way street.
“Ms. McMahon has not called me,” Bussin said this afternoon.
McMahon admitted that it’s true she’s not called Bussin either but was waiting for her to call either on election night or after McMahon’s family vacation.
“I’m planning to call her,” McMahon said today.
Conversation or not, from Bussin’s perspective the idea of a transition between two councillors is something new and has not been done in the past.

Outgoing Councillor Sandra Bussin. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

“When I became a trustee,” Bussin said. “I had to make my own way. When I beat (former councillors) Paul Christie and Steve Ellis … I did not have a pencil, desk or piece of paper left for me.”
Bussin also wondered if other defeated or retiring councillors were assisting their successors in the way people have been expecting her to do.
“Has (retiring) councillor Case Ootes provided his files to Mary Fragedakis? Has (defeated councillor) Adrian Heaps provided information to Michelle Berardinetti?” Bussin asked.
Fragedakis, the new Ward 29 councillor, has spoken with Ootes.
“I spoke with Case (Ootes) a few days after the election. He congratulated me. And I congratulated him on heading up (mayor elect) Rob Ford’s transition team. I asked for my own transition meeting,” Fragedakis said this morning. “We met last week and talked about various issues in the ward.”
Whether or not Bussin’s received help from her predecessors is not the point, said McMahon.
“I think it’s common decency,” McMahon said if she’s not re-elected in 2014 she’ll have a formal handing off to any new councillor.
Meanwhile, Bussin said outgoing councillors have been told to clear out their offices, but she stressed she’s still hard at work until the term officially ends Dec. 1.
Last Friday, she made headlines when her city hall voice message said it had been an honour to serve people and until the new councillor took over suggested they call 311.
She maintains the city’s 24/7 call centre is one of the preferred methods for constituents to reach city hall, she said.
“The city’s been insisting, especially Municipal Licensing and Standards, that constituents call … 311 directly. That they insist upon this,” she said.
That may be, but the tone of Bussin’s voice message, which has since changed, was she was no longer there to serve people.
She insists that’s not the case.
“My office is still receiving inquiries. We are doing the best we can to respond to residents. Some cases take longer (to resolve) than two weeks (left in the term),” she said.
Bussin said  she’s recently intervened to help seniors who were under threat to be evicted from social housing last week.
“People can call me at home, as they always have. I am keeping my cell number and email the same, so people can contact me. I am trying to keep as much continuity as possible.”
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