The mayor of Toronto and leader of the council takes "recreational"drugs, gets drunk, sexually harasses staff, has shouting matches with colleagues and swears at the public. His behaviour is unacceptable, inappropriate, deeply offensive and frequently illegal. As he says he is not perfect! And yet his his personal popularity ratings have increased as the revelations unfold. To a significant proportion of the people of Toronto he is considered a man of the people. He is one of them, he is for the little guy, against big business and the political elite. He can be forgiven his mistakes because they are the mistakes that his voters could imagine themselves making if they suddenly found them selves Mayor and after all he has apologised.
He must be a nightmare to work with or may be not. When he is not high, drunk or suffering the effects may be he is a revelation, a politician genuinely in touch with his constituents, a refreshingly different politician unless of course you are a women. As a senior manager in local government do I want to work for a "Man of the people" who behaves like my fellow passengers on Ryanair, at football matches or in the local curry house on a Saturday night after pubs close? Would I prefer to work with the professional politician, smooth, cynical, happy to blame officers if things go wrong and unwilling to make vote losing unpopular decisions however compelling the business case? Alternatively do I want to work for the entrepreneur with commercial and business experience who thinks they are better qualified than me to do my job and is so hands on that he wants to attend my management team meetings.
As a senior manager in local government I am of course skilled at working with all types of council leaders.
Blair McPherson author and blogger on the public sector www.blairmcpherson.co.uk