Hamilton City Manager Marnie Cluckie address the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce on June 20, 2024, during their annual City Manager's Breakfast event. Credit: Joey Coleman

Hamilton City Manager Marnie Cluckie says her job is to ensure continued success for the City of Hamilton, and to ensure the city government is doing everything it can to enable the success for all Hamiltonians – including the city’s business sector.

Over 300 people attended the annual Hamilton Chamber of Commerce City Manager’s Breakfast on Thursday, the first breakfast event since 2019 due to interruptions caused by the pandemic.

The five-year gap, and Cluckie being in the job for five months, gave special meaning to this year’s speech.

Her prepared speech had a few repeated themes. She repeatedly referred to herself as “returning” to Hamilton, the municipality where she began her career.

She cited her connections to the City of Hamilton, that she has a child attending McMaster University, and shared some of the cultural events and amenities she enjoys.

Council Priorities and Achievements

Cluckie briefly outlined the three areas of Council priority for the 2022-2026 term of office, citing progress to get more housing developed – citing Hamilton’s exceeding the 2023 provincial housing starts goal -, the enacting of municipal bylaws to stop bad-faith renovictions, the passing of a new development charges bylaw, and ground-breaking on the HUPEG renovations of FirstOntario Centre.

Cluckie said the City will ‘sometimes get things wrong,’ saying it is important for the City to hear from the community both when it is getting things right, and getting things wrong.

She referenced the HUPEG downtown entertainment precinct plan multiple times, giving HUPEG President and CEO PJ Mercanti the only individual shout-out of her speech.

Other projects she cited included the planned B-Line LRT, the residential redevelopment of Pier 8, and the City’s Housing Secretariat.

Hamilton City Manager Marnie Cluckie and Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Greg Dunnett during their conversation at the 2024 Chamber City Manager’s Breakfast on June 20, 2024

On City Hall Culture, Staff Turnover, and Vacancies

Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Greg Dunnett came on stage for a conversation format question and answer discussion.

He began by asking Cluckie to describe her ideal weekend, followed by asking what role the City Manager has in growing Hamilton’s business economy.

Dunnett noted addressing the City Hall culture was a major election issue in 2022, saying the business community wants to know what is being done to fill vacant senior positions at City Hall with a higher-than-usual amount of turnover in recent months.

Over a dozen senior positions are presently backfilled in an acting capacity, and hiring processes have not begun due to the problems resulting from the City’s cybersecurity failure.

Cluckie says it is important to find people with “strong values and integrity” who can ensure public confidence.

She cited her recent hiring of a new City Clerk as a step towards addressing public concerns about governance culture, saying hiring a new City Clerk was a priority for her from Day One.

It was a clear statement of confidence in Matthew Trennum, who starts on July 2.

The crowd applauded when Cluckie stated that the City cannot act like a “monopoly” enterprise and must deliver great value and service to Hamiltonians.

The Chamber asked what the City is doing to address the challenges facing Downtown Hamilton, where petty crime and disorder are causing people to feel unsafe.

Cluckie discussed the roles of the City, the Hamilton Police Service, and the work being done to create supportive housing.

Overall, there were no surprises at the event.

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Published: June 21, 2024
Last updated: June 21, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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