grit organizer, mel insider, political lobbyist and recently elected school trustee Bruce Davis is already proving to be a fly in the ointment for the caucus of lefties on the Toronto board who've made fighting the province mission numero uno.This week he was complaining that the board is being too union-friendly and not doing enough to get teachers to end their work-to-rule campaign over provincial plans to make supervising of after-school activities mandatory.
But what of Davis's own cozy political connections? Where Davis is concerned, the conflict-of-interest bugaboo looms large. As vice-president of municipal consulting outfit Urban Intelligence Inc., Davis boasts political connections at both City Hall and among the Tories at Queen's Park. Need a problem fixed or a tip on how to get that municipal contract? Davis is your guy.
The Catholic school board has been a client. But Davis says his company has no business with the public board. That doesn't mean he won't be using whatever influence he has at City Hall.
"If I wanted to hire a trustee, I'd want to hire someone who was a political lobbyist who can actually get things done," Davis says.
He may have to tread lightly on other issues, he says, where his business is concerned. "I've got to make a judgment whether I want to necessarily tackle some of the tough issues that may have an impact on my business."
Hmm. No trustees NOW talked to on the board are willing to say it, but a skeptic might suggest Davis is putting his financial interests ahead of his duty as an elected official.
Board chair Irene Atkinson is just plain miffed that Davis has been taking every opportunity to publicly blast the board for not pushing teachers to end their work-to-rule action. It doesn't look, at first blush at least, as if Davis is going to be using his vaunted political credentials to smooth things over for the board.
"Some trustees don't understand the rules of the game (and) that you're not supposed to negotiate in the press," Atkinson says.