Where’s Cecil?

Welcome to this week’s installment of “Where’s Cecil?” my ongoing effort 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.


Section 17(4)

This week, in addition to monitoring Clarke’s Facebook feeds, I tried a novel new approach: I emailed his spokesperson, Christina Lamey, and asked her how many official days off he’s taken since he launched his leadership campaign on February 3.

Lamey didn’t respond, because why would the mayor’s spokesperson answer a question about the mayor’s holidays?

So I contacted Municipal Clerk Deborah Campbell Ryan and asked the same question. She responded by email:

I do not have that information you are requesting. By copy of this email I’ll ask either the Human Resources Department or the Mayor’s office to respond to your inquiry.

Shortly thereafter, I received a response from Human Resources via CBRM spokesperson Jillian Moore:

Human Resources does not track or record vacation entitlement for Mayor and Council. They are responsible for administering their own time off provided it doesn’t conflict with Section 17(4) of the MGA.

MGA Section 17(4):
“A mayor or councillor who, without leave of the council, is absent from three consecutive regular meetings of the council, ceases to be qualified to serve as mayor or as a councillor.”

First of all, if HR doesn’t “track or record vacation entitlement” for the mayor, then we know, once and for all, that Clarke really has just made up vacation time for himself — which, in his defense, he made pretty clear talking to the CBC back in December:

The fact that I put in so much time as the only full-time member of council if I went by normal accounting I would have in excess well in excess of 20 weeks’ of vacation.

Second, if the only constraint the mayor faces is that he not miss three consecutive monthly council meetings, then he could presumably miss two consecutive regular council meetings and still be golden. Which means, in theory, he need only show up for four meetings a year and he would not be contravening Section 17(4).

But would we really accept that from the only “full-time member of council?” One paid $109,754 a year?

On a final note, we are now well into the second quarter of 2018 and Clarke’s first quarter expenses have yet to be posted on the CBRM website.


Kitchen Party

First an update on the week of April 15-21.

I had reported that Clarke was in Halifax on Monday night that week, Guysborough on Thursday and Tatamagouche on Saturday.

Now, thanks to a recent post on his Facebook feed, I can add that on Tuesday, April 17, he was in Lower Sackville, recording an interview with 97.5 Community Radio:

Did he take the entire week off to campaign? Probably he did! But what are you bellyaching about? He made it to the regular council meeting on April 24.

Also, this post appeared on Clarke’s feed on Sunday, along with birthday wishes to interim PC leader Karla MacFarlane, pictures from Saturday’s Annual Day of Mourning and a re-posting of a letter Clarke received from Elmer MacKay. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the municipality he still heads:


Fry Daddy’s

Clarke’s Facebook feed placed him at Fry Daddy’s restaurant in Windsor on Thursday, April 26th, which would put him half an hour’s drive from Berwick where, as the Spectator reported last week, he was scheduled to address the Kings West PC Annual Dinner that evening.


Kings West

Clarke, who remains remarkably coy about admitting where he’s been on his Facebook feed, doesn’t actually say anything about having addressed the Kings West PC Annual Dinner on Thursday, but I bet I know where he bumped into his friend Wayne Atwater:




Also on Friday, April 27th, Clarke posted this:

Although, as usual, he’s artfully vague about when “this week” he was in Bedford, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet it was on Friday, on his way back from the Valley. And whether Bedford was on his way back from the Valley on Friday or on his way to the Valley on Thursday, the bottom line for CBRM residents is: the mayor took last Thursday and Friday off.