Bill Marra won't run for mayor, citing family and workload
Calls Mayor Eddie Francis 'a one-person show'
Windsor city councillor Bill Marra will not run for mayor in the October election.
He made the formal announcement at his home Thursday morning, after confirming his decision to several media outlets Wednesday night.
However, Marra will seek re-election as Ward 8 councillor.
Marra said at a media conference that several people want him to run for mayor but that "I needed to stay true to myself."
Marra says his kids and family need him right now.
"We also suffered a number of different losses," Marra said.
Current Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said earlier this year that he does not intend to run for re-election.
Marra said Francis' choice had no bearing on his decision. "I wasn't going to run for Mayor because Eddie wasn't running."
Marra lost the 2003 mayoral race to Francis.
Marra said the next mayor "has to be inclusive of all members of council. It can't be a one person show."
"We need a mayor who can set aside any personal agendas," Marra said. "It's a tense dynamic at times if you don't agree with the Mayor."
Francis took exception to what Marra said.
"To call it a one-man show is, I think, degrading of the existing colleagues and the work that they do," Francis said. "His criticism takes away from city council."
Francis said Marra's comments "don’t reflect reality."
"If there's an issue that comes up, members of city council can raise any issue they want. It's an open forum," Francis said. "In eight years as a councillor, Coun. Marra supported a majority of our initiatives and very rarely has he spoken up against them. This claim that you're ostracized or the mayor controls the agenda is ... completely disassociated from reality of council."
"My job here is to make sure we're carrying out the peoples' agenda and getting things done. That's my goal," Francis added. "I'm not here to make friends. I'm not here to be someone's dinner pal or weekend getaway pal."
The next municipal election is scheduled for October 27.
"I wish Bill the best," Francis said.
Marra's decision surprised Lloyd Brown-John, a professor emeritus in the department of political science at the University of Windsor.
He thought Marra was planning to announce his candidacy for mayor in the wake of a social media campaign backing former Liberal cabinet minister and Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza, who lost her seat at Queen's Park last week.
Brown-John said a mayoral declaration would take away from the immediate buzz around Piruzza.
"The logical strategy would be for someone to declare. I thought he would do that," Brown-John said.
Marra cited family and work commitments as reasons for not running for mayor. He works for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
"He’s now very well occupied in an important job at the hospital," Brown-John said. "It’s very difficult balancing a family … and the enormous load put on a person in the mayor’s seat."
Marra said he won't endorse anyone as a mayoral candidate.
"I have not talked to anybody about them running four mayor, or me backing them for mayor," Marra said.
Unifor Local 444 president Dino Chiodo said the union isn't backing anyone either — not yet, anyway.
"We’re just getting our committees going to look at municipal politics," Chiodo said. "I don’t think there is any special candidate that stands out. There is consideration from Ken [Lewenza], but he’ll have to make his own decision."
Lewenza has not dismissed the idea of running for mayor.
Chiodo said he's "looking forward to some change." He said he's looking for a mayor "who can bring some of our community partners together.”