Something tells me Jim Watson is going to do just fine post-politics.
It’s Freedom 60 for Ottawa’s dowager mayor, who says he decided after the 2018 election that he wouldn’t be re-offering.
If Jimbo needed any further here’s-your-hat-what’s-yer-hurry impetus for a walk in the slush, Premier DoFo provided it last month when he called for a public colonoscopy of Watson’s ongoing LRT fustercluck, with a quick and brutal report due before next November’s running of the reptiles. Retirement beckons. Now what?
“I don’t know what is next for me. It’s a little awkward going out and looking for a job while you’re still the mayor of Ottawa,” he told CBC’s Joanne Chianello last week. But, hey, he’s open to proposals: “So, I’ll see what happens when, you know, if there’ a fit that makes sense and someone approaches me, obviously, I’ll consider that.”
Maybe, His Worship speculated, he’ll have more time for volunteer work. Hahahahahaha!
Far more likely one of Jim’s many admirers in the development biz, the core contributors to his campaign war chests ($409,453 last time around), will throw the lifelong ward o’ the state a bone.
Certainly there’s no end to the encouraging success stories of Watson henchthingies who have transitioned from public service to private sector riches.
Take Peter Hume, please! The gainfully-retired Alta Vista councillor, once Watson’s hand-picked planning committee chairthingy, is now blissfully partnered with ubiquitous development fixer Jack Stirling (himself a former Nepean city planner.)
Readers will recall Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder, Hume’s successor, walked the plank as city planning boss because she’d hired Jack’s talented daughter, Alison, even as she moonlighted for Daddy. Circle of life.
And speaking of sole-sourced earners for familiar faces, what a delight to see my old friend Sally Coutts back on contract with the city, pretty much doing the same thing she did there for 30 years: Feeding historic downtown properties to the developers’ bulldozers.
Sally hung up her wreckin’ ball as senior heritage planner in October 2020, but not before preparing the ground for a lucrative second career on the other side of the fence. In July 2020, she incorporated Sally Coutts Heritage Consulting, Inc.
In her last year with the city, Sally’s salary was $110,873. In her first year as a private consultant she hauled in $542,680 CAN (shurely shome mishtake?!–ed.)
Now comes news that Sally, thanks to her chum Mayor Jimbo, is back working for the city on a sole-sourced contract (to supplement her half mil earnings last year).
Presumably, Watson wants to avail himself again of Sally’s undisputed talents in his final months on the job. Thus he is assured that Ottawa’s architectural and cultural heritage is in safe hands, as rapacious condo builders come a-calling with applications for demolition permits – and possible employment opportunities for His Worship.