Private St. John's council meeting not about my leadership, says Dennis O'Keefe

St. John's city council members are being called to an in camera meeting on Sunday to discuss numerous issues including the mayor's leadership, say sources.
St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe says a closed-door meeting set for Sunday is not about his leadership. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The mayor of St. John's says a closed-door meeting that's called for Sunday will not be about his leadership, even though city sources say there are divisions at city hall. 

"The meeting in fact is about council and how to get council together working as a team," said Dennis O'Keefe of the Feb. 14 meeting.

The private meeting comes after weeks of protest from business leaders, taxpayers and arts supporters about a controversial budget that increased city taxes and cut services.

St. John's Coun. Jonathan Galgay expects many issues will be discussed at the private meeting including the O'Keefe's performance.

"The mayor's leadership is among many issues up for discussion on Sunday," says Galgay.

Another city source said he hopes the weekend meeting will lead to some real changes.

"It's clear many people have lost confidence in city council and some changes have to be made to regain it," he said.

Sources cited three issues that have driven a wedge in council: 

  • The city's handling of its controversial budget;  
  • The scuttled plan to spend millions on land in the city's southwest corner for a new depot and fire hall to service that area as it develops; 
  • Concerns about whether or not the way the mayor is paid to perform marriages is a conflict-of-interest.

About the Author

Mark Quinn

CBC News

Mark Quinn is a videojournalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.

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