Some Sudbury city councillors say little has been accomplished in the three years since the last election — and they point to blow-ups like the one this week between Mayor Marianne Matichuk and Coun. Andre Rivest as one of the problems.
Coun. Terry Kett said the atmosphere at council has been so negative lately, it has him wondering if he's wasting his time.
Bickering matches like the one from Tuesday night over the latest closed door meeting report is a big part of that, he said.
"This is the type of thing that's getting in the way of council and has been for three years. It's not good for council; therefore it's not good for our citizens."
But Mayor Marianne Matichuk claims council is still moving Greater Sudbury forward, despite the well-publicized dust-ups.
Councillor Frances Caldarelli said she agrees.
"Unfortunately when there's bickering it tends to distract," Caldarelli said. "But I don't think that means city work isn't getting done."
‘We all have a part in it’
Coun. Jacques Barbeau said, compared to the last term, this council has done little but debate the same accountability issues over and over again.
"I'm sure some people will blame council and some will blame the mayor, but at the end of the day we all have a part in it."
Barbeau added he's not optimistic that will change in the last year of the term, particularly now that campaign-style rhetoric is already sneaking into council debates.
Coun. Ron Dupuis said previous terms were definitely more productive than this one, but believes it's not too late for council to choose one big project to get done in the year that remains before the next election.
Those thoughts were echoed by Coun. Fabio Belli, who said he believes council can push through a lot of a negative feelings directed toward Greater Sudbury’s elected officials.
"I think a lot of it, we bring it on ourselves and I think we need to fix that," Belli said.
"Fixing that [means]
we need to be more united."
Belli added that issues of accountability — like the closed door meeting investigator — need to move to the backburner for the next year, so council can cross some major projects off its wish list.