John Sweeny. That’s who. The first registered candidate in Ward 4.

John Sweeny

While the incumbent, Jack Dennison, waits silently until June to announce if he’ll seek re-election – Mr. Sweeny is off and running as of yesterday.

Will he make any noise in the meantime? Will he be heard over the din of a likely Provincial election this spring?

Based on his own Linkedin profile, let’s take an initial look….

1) PERSONAL. Mr. Sweeny has lived in Burlington his “entire life” and also has “a passion for the City“. Hockey and sailing are enthusiasms.

2) CAREER. He’s worked for employers in different places in the “High Technology” sector, primarily as an “Alliance and Channels” expert.

However, after more than 13 years, he no longer works in downtown Toronto with Deloitte. That job ended a few months ago.

3) REASONS / PLATFORM. In effect, this candidate is applying for a new job, and a career change. Why at City Hall?

A Councillor doesn’t commute to work. Knowing Mr. Sweeny worked in downtown Toronto, it’s understandable to want a lifestyle change! But what are his most substantive reasons? Is it due to recent circumstances, or a long-term desire to run for public office?

More importantly, what applicable skills and community experience would Mr. Sweeny bring to Council? How truly connected is he to our City, and Ward 4?

There’s nothing on Linkedin about his ideas, issues, etc. – nor much about supporting or volunteering for local groups (other than coaching hockey), nor anything about past leadership roles in the community.

I’m sure those essential details will follow in due course at the door, plus in a campaign website and pamphlets.

4) PROFILE. Do you know him? Ever heard of him before reading this blog post?

I’ve already exchanged emails/calls with Ward 4 residents about Mr. Sweeny. I don’t know him. I’ve never heard of him. That’s apparently true for everyone who’s contacted me so far, including several of his neighbours in Roseland.

Such anecdotes are not encouraging for name recognition, nor for someone looking to gain trust and get votes.

Having said that, few people had heard of Councillor Paul Sharman in 2010 either (when he first registered to run for Mayor, and then for Ward 5).

Ward 5 was an open seat (Rick Goldring vacated it to run for Mayor) and with no ‘high-profile’ candidates, voters had to learn about each of them, and get to know their names.

It’s uncertain if, after 20 years, Ward 4 will finally be an open seat in 2014.

Please take the time to learn more about Mr. Sweeny in the months ahead – and any other registered candidate’s motivations, commitment, skills and vision.

Time flies, and October will be here soon enough!

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