Where’s Cecil?

image_pdfimage_print

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.

First, a brief re-cap of last week’s edition, in which we learned that the CBRM’s Human Resources Department does not track the vacation time of 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.”

So Mayor Clarke is presumably tracking his time off based on his own estimate (shared with CBC radio listeners back in December 2017) that he has over 20 weeks’ vacation stockpiled.

And second, an update on Clarke’s Q1 2018 travel expenses: they have been posted!

 

March expenses

Clarke was at the NS Road Builders Conference in Halifax on 25 January 2018 (prior to officially announcing his leadership campaign) and lists no out-of-town travel in February. March had him traveling to and from Halifax to appear before the Law Amendments Committee (click to enlarge):

Interestingly, he didn’t bill for a hotel. Does he have a place in Halifax or was he couch surfing? Alas, the expense reports don’t say. We do know, however, that he returned to the CBRM on March 27 because he chaired the regular Regional Council meeting that night. Then the next day he hit the road for Stellarton:

 

And Thursday found him in Halifax:

But the official CBRM travel and the campaign travel don’t seem to have mixed. So we’ve got that going for us.

 

Assistance

Cecil Clarke (r) with radio host Al Hollingsworth, 17 April 2018 (Source: Facebook)

Cecil Clarke (r) with radio host Al Hollingsworth, 17 April 2018 (Source: Facebook)

One of the Spectator’s questions about Clarke’s leadership campaign is whether his “political” staff — spokesperson Christina Lamey and executive assistant Mark Bettens — are working on it. Both are paid by the citizens of the CBRM, so if they are working on Clarke’s campaign during regular business hours, it’s on our dime.

Lamey told me, in answer to an earlier question about a couple of specific campaign events:

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

Which, as I pointed out, left a lot of wiggle room — just because they don’t have official roles and did not travel with Clarke on the particular dates I asked about doesn’t mean one or both of them has not traveled with him to other events.

I bring this up again because a reader who actually listened to Clarke’s April 17 interview with Al Hollingsworth on 97.5 Community Radio (which, I must confess, I did not) alerted me to Hollingsworth’s opening comments:

And uh, if you can hear voices in the background it doesn’t matter because we’re going to be very informal here, we’re always very informal here. Ah, my guest, Cecil Clarke, is just arrived and is getting settled into his chair. He’s got an assistant with him…

I emailed Lamey to ask the identity of the assistant who was with Clarke in Lower Sackville on a Tuesday for this interview. As of press time, she had not responded.

 

HiFlyChick at en.wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Sable Island PC Party members? (Photo by HiFlyChick, CC BY 3.0, from Wikimedia Commons)

Catch Up

The Spectator has noted before that Clarke seems to be making a regular thing of taking Fridays off and this past Friday was no exception: he attended the Halifax Citadel-Sable Island “Evening with Leadership Candidates Reception” from 7 to 9 PM that night. (Admission a mere $100 per person!)

I contacted organizer Rob Batherson who confirmed that Clarke was indeed in attendance at the dinner.

 

Leaders & Lobsters

The leadership candidates have been invited to Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage and Portland Valley on Thursday, May 10, for a “Leaders & Lobsters” event (my immediate thought was perhaps they’d be bobbing for them but sober second thought suggests they will more likely be eating them).

The $40 a pop event gets under way at 6PM at the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lion’s Club so presumably, Mayor Clark will be taking at least part of the day off.

 

 

 

Debatable

The PCs have announced the dates and locations for six leadership debates across the province. All debates will begin at 7PM in the evening, all are scheduled for weekdays and attendance, I’m told, is mandatory:

Thursday 24 May 2018 – NSCC Middleton Campus, Middleton

Thursday 21 June 2018 – Alderney Landing Theatre, Dartmouth

Thursday 12 July 2018 – Tusket Community Hall, Tusket

Thursday 9 August 2018 – Polish Village Hall, Whitney Pier

Tuesday 11 September 2018 – Best Western Plus, Bridgewater

Wednesday 10 October 2018 – Colchester Branch 026 Royal Canadian Legion, Truro

Obviously, Clarke won’t need to take time off to attend the debate in Whitney Pier but I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be checking out of the office early to get to the other five.

(Also, they’ve scheduled a leadership debate for 9/11?)

 

Visual aids

Finally, I thought it was time to present a calendar of all Clarke’s campaign activities since he announced his candidacy on February 3 or at least, all the activities I know of. Please note:

  • Events with an asterisk (*) definitely took place, but I’m forced to make an educated guess as to when;
  • Events with two asterisks (**) are ones to which all leadership candidates have been invited, I will follow-up afterward to ascertain whether Clarke actually attended.
  • I will continue to add events as I discover them.

The pace seems to be picking up steadily:

 

 

 

 

The Cape Breton Spectator is entirely reader supported. Please consider subscribing today!