Where’s Cecil?

I am trying to keep track of Mayor Cecil Clarke’s campaign appearances to judge just how much time he’s taking from his day job to travel the province in pursuit of the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.

I’m focusing on events scheduled for weekdays during business hours or out-of-town events that would require travel on weekdays during business hours, and so far, I have noted this Friday March 9 meeting in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, which obviously required him to take at least one day off work:

(I count 14 people in that photograph, which doesn’t strike me as a particularly “great” turnout, but I’m not sure what the norm is for political meet-and-greets scheduled during work hours in Shelburne in March.)

Last Friday, March 16, found him in Halifax:

And as you read this, he is either in Antigonish, en route to Antigonish or getting ready to leave for Antigonish:


There are two issues with these appearances: the first is that, contrary to what the mayor himself has said about his stockpiled vacation time (which he has estimated at about 20 weeks), mayors do not get vacation time and while, as CBU Political Science Professor Tom Urbaniak told the CBC, citizens would hardly object to their mayors taking some time off now and again to recharge their batteries, that’s a very different thing from taking 20 weeks off to look for a new job.

Second, the mayor has political staff — spokesperson Christina Lamey and executive assistant Mark Bettens. Although he handpicked these staffers, by-passing municipal hiring norms, they are paid by the citizens of the CBRM.

I decided to simply ask Lamey if she and/or Bettens was playing any role in Clarke’s campaign and if either (or both) of them had traveled with Clarke to Shelburne on Friday, March 9 or to Halifax on Friday, March 16 or if either plans to travel with him to Antigonish on Wednesday, March 21. She replied:

Mark and I do not have roles on the leadership campaign team. We did not accompany him on travel on any of those dates.

If this is true (and it’s so carefully worded it leaves a lot of wiggle room — I really should have asked “are you assisting in any way” with Clarke’s campaign), it raises another question, which is, what does the mayor’s political staff do while the mayor is away campaigning for a new job?




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