UPDATED June 23 at 4:08 p.m.
Ward 8 Coun. Ted Callaghan announced his candidacy to become the mayor of Greater Sudbury June 23.
“We need change at city hall,” Callaghan said, speaking at a press conference at the Howard Johnson hotel.
Callaghan was first elected to city council in November 1994, and has served five terms on both regional and city councils.
He presently serves as chair of the city's finance committee, vice chair of the senior's advisory committee, member of the Sudbury Public Library Board and member of the NORCAT board, amongst other personal commitments.
Rodriguez put out a press release June 23 welcoming Callaghan to the mayor's race.
The press release said Rodriguez will launch his campaign and present his election platform later this summer.
“Ted has been a valuable member of the council, but I believe that we hold competing visions of the future of Greater Sudbury,” he said.
“This will become quite clear during the campaign.”
Rodriguez invites Sudbury residents to visit his campaign website, www.johnrodriguez.ca.
Callaghan was accompanied at the press conference by his wife, Melodie Fairburn, and former city councillor Ron Bradley.
Fairburn said she fully supported her husband's run for mayor.
“Ted is a good person,” she said. “He really cares. He has a good heart.”
Callaghan said his priorities are investing in the city's infrastructure, such as community arenas, supporting seniors services, keeping a lid on tax increases, and supporting the diversification of the city.
He cited a long litany of what he said are bad decisions made by Mayor John Rodriguez, including the Elton John ticket scandal and the proposed sports and arts centre legacy projects, which were ultimately voted down by council.
Callaghan said he was appalled that the legacy projects resulted in $450,000 being “wasted” on consultants' studies. Staff also spent thousands of hours studying the issue, he said.
He said he sensed remarks made by the mayor at his recent state of the city address indicated he would still pursue the projects.
“I have news for him. We don't have the money.”
Callaghan said the legacy projects were poorly planned, especially in soliciting major sponsors.
“An Xstrata senior manager approached me at a meeting to ask how could it be that the city had identified his company as being a $10 million sponsor. No one had talked to them first. The individual said he would have had to approach head office managers for such a request.”
Callaghan said he also resented the fact no councillor was present or informed when there was a recent $1 million FedNor announcement for community and business support groups.
“I was riding up the elevator at Tom Davies Square, and I had to ask what was going on down below in the foyer.”
Callaghan said the incident represents the style of the mayor in trying to place himself first and foremost when funding announcements are made.
Regarding the loss of the sale of the former General Hospital site, he said the inaction by the mayor on the sale was “reprehensible.”
Callaghan said he, like other councillors, was only informed by e-mail after the sale had been completed.
If elected, Callaghan said he will work to ensure the property could return to public hands.
Bradley said none of the former Sudbury mayors he knows, as far back as Joe Fabbro or Max Silverman in the 1960s, would have let the property slip away from city ownership.
“(Rodriguez) had three years to put money aside and plan ahead for the decommissioning of the hospital site. Instead they put money into the legacy projects.”
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