- Megan Rudson
2013 grade: A-
2012 grade: N/A
Imagine moving into a house once occupied by a serial killer, who stashed the body parts of his victims willy-nilly under the couch cushions, in the hallway closet, the refrigerator, behind the drapes. First you've got to clean up the mess, but no matter how much you sterilize the place, you'll likely be forever haunted by waking dreams of unspeakable horrors.
That is more or less the situation Mike Savage found himself in when he took possession of the keys to the mayor's office from Peter Kelly.
To say Savage is a breath of fresh air is an understatement. To say the difference between Savage and Kelly is like night and day is an understatement. The difference is nearly meta-physical, like we popped from one universe into another, more sane universe.
Savage has performed admirably. His first act of office was to do away with that horrid 18th-century honourific "Your Worship," replacing it with the clunky and, from a gender politics point of view, problematic "Mr. Mayor," but still. More importantly, he has signaled a willingness to sign up with the anti-nuclear weapons movement Mayors For Peace, and to begin making the mayoral schedule and guestbook public---both moves will take some study and time, but Savage is singing from the right hymnbook.
At council, Savage also hits the right tone, not overly formal, but capable of moving things along coherently. A telling moment came in March, when councillors worked themselves into a tizzy over the legislature's reluctance to make even tiny city-friendly changes in law. For a moment, it looked like council was going to then and there storm Province House, but then Savage gave up his position as chair so he could address the group, and talked them down. As is often the case, Savage was the mature adult in the room.
The big challenges---among them are a revised version of the perverse "tax reform" and a looming battle with Butts--- await Savage, and who knows how he'll handle them? But so far, good job.