Peter Kelly | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

2010 grade: C
2009 grade: C-
2008 grade: D
2007 grade: D

In past years, I understood mayor Peter Kelly to be the likable bumbling fool. That version of Kelly was OK with me: the mayoralty is a mostly powerless position, so having a goofball in the office might be frustrating when you want somebody to at least pretend to be doing something, but neither was he causing any real harm, I thought. Kelly got a C last year.

It turns out that Kelly wasn’t as clueless as he let on. We now know that he was up to his elbows in the concert loan scandal, arranging and attending meetings between now-disgraced former acting CAO Wayne Anstey and failed concert promoter Harold MacKay. In the process, millions of dollars in secret and illegal loans were funnelled to MacKay through a city bank account for the Metro Centre managed by Trade Centre Limited. MacKay failed to pay back the last loan, and the city is left holding the bag for $360,000.

Anstey says Kelly was completely aware of the loans, but Kelly disputes this, saying, sure, he was at the meetings, but he left before the loans were discussed. He then does the verbal equivalent of papering over the issue, mumbling nonsensical dissembling statements, apparently hoping we’ll all tire of it.

But no. There are only two possibilities: Either, as Anstey says, Kelly was completely aware of the loans and kept that knowledge from councillors and financial managers who could take corrective action, or Kelly is so simpleminded that he missed millions of dollars being passed right under his nose. Either way, he is part of the biggest financial scandal to hit city hall in HRM’s existence, and he must be held accountable. This F is well-deserved.

How to improve: Man up, take responsibility for your actions, resign.

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