NS: Changing of the guard has begun at City Hall

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By Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax

Mayor-elect Mike Savage won’t be sworn in until Nov. 6, but he met with outgoing Mayor Peter Kelly Monday afternoon to discuss the transition that will occur over the next two weeks.

Mayor-elect Mike Savage (left) and mayor Peter Kelly meet at City Hall to discuss the changeover.

[HALIFAX, NS] — The changing of the guard has begun at City Hall.

Mayor-elect Mike Savage won’t be sworn in until Nov. 6, but he met with outgoing Mayor Peter Kelly Monday afternoon to discuss the transition that will occur over the next two weeks.

“I want to find out where the mayor’s office is, and meet some of the people here,” said Savage. “I also want to wish Mayor Kelly well in the next stage of his life.”

Kelly said there wasn’t much he could tell the “new guy.”

“Basically, it’s do the best job you can and I’m sure Mike will be doing that,” he said. “He has the experience and will have people around him to help him out, so it’s all moving forward.”

As Savage draws up a to-do list for the next two weeks, local business groups are drawing one up for the first 100 days in office.

Gordon Stevens of the Uncommon Group launched the #First100DaysHRM hashtag to encourage residents to stay abreast of goings-on at City Hall.

“It would be nice, given the amount of ideas and input the candidates picked up during the last two or three months to see them set some early goals…and show the city that it is a new government, that there is change afoot,” he said.

In its first day, Stevens says the hashtag was used more than 300 times on suggestions ranging from lower speed limits to changing taxi regulations.

A Halifax Chamber of Commerce vice-president says 100 days isn’t much time, so he’s being specific about his wish list.

“Tax reform,” said Brian Rose, promptly. “Bring the last committee back, say, ‘I’m really sorry that we shut you down last time, can we start this up again.’”

Savage didn’t want to commit to a timeline on tax reform, but said it would be addressed sooner rather than later.

“Tax reform is a priority for me and I’m sure it will be for the whole council, and it’ll be one of the first things we discuss,” he said.

Savage ditches traditional mayor’s honorific

In a move that’s getting lots of attention on social media, Mayor-elect Mike Savage is doing away with one of the mayoralty’s conventional trappings of power.

Savage said Monday he didn’t want to be referred to as “Your Worship” after he takes office, opting instead for the simpler “Mr. Mayor.”

In another marked departure from the Kelly doctrine, Savage is not being pedantic about the use of the moniker “Halifax Regional Municipality.”

When he speaks to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 19, Savage will deliver a “State of the City” address – not “State of the Regional Municipality.”
 Chamber officials say Kelly refused to allow the use of the terms “Halifax” or “city,” instead of “HRM” or “regional municipality.”

Organizations: Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Halifax Regional Municipality, Uncommon Group

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