Hamilton mayor Eisenberger says he’ll announce plans next week


Published June 15, 2022 at 5:52 pm

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who has been the top elected official in the city during the 28-months-and-counting COVID-19 pandemic, will clarify his political future next week.

Eisenberger told a Hamilton radio station on Wednesday that he is going to make intentions — one way or the other — known in five days on June 20. The municipal elections are on Oct. 24, and candidates have until Aug. 19 to file their nomination papers. It is not uncommon for incumbents to formally declare a little closer to the deadline.

The mayoralty race already has three declared candidates. Erstwhile mayor and member of Parliament Bob Bratina, who was Eisenberger’s rival in the 2010 and ’14 municipal elections with both men winning once, filed his nomination papers on Tuesday.

Keanin Loomis, who had headed the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, was the first to throw his hat into the ring, announcing his plans on Jan. 18 and filing on May 2, the first day a candidate could do so. Loomis held a campaign kickoff  event on June 11. Ejaz Butt, former head the taxi drivers’ union Ejaz Butt, has also entered the race. Butt ran for mayor in 2014.

Eisenberger, who will turn 70 years old in September, was recently away from council meetings for three weeks. He returned to his duties on Tuesday for the opening of a photography exhibition showing images documenting the war in Ukraine.

In April, the mayor self-isolated after testing positive for COVID-19.

The City of Hamilton has had more than its share of crises and questions about transparency in governance. While both occurred over a number of years, the Chedoke Creek sewage spill and the Red Hill Valley Parkway scandal (which is the subject of an ongoing inquiry) were brought to the public’s attention during the current council term.

As a growing city in sprawling Southern Ontario, Hamilton is also facing intersecting questions about affordable housing, climate resilience, policing and inclusion for equity-seeking groups.

Eisenberger supported the urban boundary freeze that councillors voted for last fall in the aim to develop more ‘missing middle’ housing in the city. Last November, he also stepped down from the Hamilton Police Services Board with the aim to “boost diversity.”

One-third of council are officially seeking re-election. Couns. John-Paul Danko (8), Nrinder Nann (3), Esther Pauls (7), Maria Pearson (11) and Maureen Wilson (1) have filed to run again. Former Ward 7 councillor and New Democratic Party MP Scott Duvall is running against Pauls.

At least four councillors are not running: Brenda Johnson (Ward 11), Sam Merulla (4), Judi Partridge (15),  and Russ Powers (5). Powers was appointed to serve out the term last fall after Chad Collins vacated when he was elected to federal Parliament.

The news about Eisenberger was first reported on AM900 CHML.

INthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies