Brampton mayor hires Liberal campaigner as new...
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Jan 09, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Brampton mayor hires Liberal campaigner as new communications chief

Brampton Guardian

Mayor Linda Jeffrey has hired a lawyer and local political organizer to help reshape her brand ahead of a 2018 reelection bid.

Although initially stating she would not immediately fill the role following Jim Schembri’s sudden departure last month, Jeffrey has named Jaskaran Singh Sandhu her new press secretary. 

Sandhu is a former director of development for the World Sikh Organization on top of being a lawyer, political strategist and organizer for several local campaigns including Liberal MPs Raj Grewal and Sonia Sidhu.

"Mayor Jeffrey came in on a very strong mandate. She has done a lot of what she has promised and now we have two years to make sure we complete the platform of creating a better Brampton," said Sandhu.

Jeffrey, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, is beefing up her inner circle as she looks to rebrand an image badly bruised during the first half of her term as the result of an inability to connect with a number of councillors on key issues.

City hall watchers say Jeffrey’s appointment of Sandhu “makes good sense” given his organizational know-how, Liberal party ties and connections to an important South Asian voting base heading into 2018.  

“Hiring a prominent Liberal makes sense. It’s just surprising that Jeffrey would fill the communications job so soon especially after she said she wouldn’t,” said Gary Collins, former Brampton Board of Trade CEO.

Jeffrey’s camp told The Guardian that Sandhu, who has also worked on local Ontario PC candidate nomination races, boasts impressive credentials "and just so happened to be available". 

Schembri was part of the team that helped Jeffrey win the mayor’s chair in a landslide victory in 2014.

While the mayor’s staff said the decision was “mutual”, Schembri drew criticism for his handling of the mayor’s messaging on contentious issues like mass transit and water fluoridation. One councillor described Schembri’s communications approach as "inappropriate" and "out of line" at times.

Schembri also left his post amid mounting criticism levelled at Jeffrey for the number of staffers she employs.

At some point this year, city staff will report back to council comparing Jeffrey’s office budget and staffing complement to other municipalities.

For 2017, Jeffrey’s operating budget is projected at $846,000, including $653,118 for staff salaries.

Some of Jeffrey’s most vocal critics, among them Coun. John Sprovieri, questioned how the mayor can justify employing six staffers in her office in light of a massive overhaul of the city’s bureaucracy in recent months.

With respect to her office complement, Jeffrey responded that she needs help running Canada’s ninth largest city.

 

STORY UPDATED JAN. 10 AT 11:30 AM

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(30) Comment

By Chris | JANUARY 13, 2017 07:45 PM
From his LinkedIn profile, it looks like he just started with a law firm in Brampton only 2 weeks before the holidays, then jumps ship to get hired as the Mayor's press secretary over the holidays? How much are taxpayers going topay for his salary? Were human resources involved with this hire? From his background, his experience looks to be more of a Liberal campaign manager than a press secretary! Why does our Mayor need one when there are 5 other staffers getting way too much $. This vote pandering has to stop at the taxpayers expense!
By BRAMPTON | JANUARY 13, 2017 11:30 AM
In the community from last 30 years , never heard of his name or nothing about him, I post communists, when Jim was fired, it's all game one by one she's bringing her all the election supporters, and helping them to get settled, financially, this all, taking about she hired him shape upcoming elections, come on Madam Mayor Linda ,you won to bring the change, bring the council together , Leadership, Am I right, but Even after more then a year most of the councils still doing whatever they feel like it , Please don't waste public money just give it up
By Nicko | JANUARY 13, 2017 10:32 AM
what is this guy going to do? who is this ? I don;t see any use for this guy besides yellow'ing up the microwave in City Hall.
By Mark | JANUARY 12, 2017 11:48 AM
Rut, your comments have to be some of the most racist I have seen on this page. Go complain to your MP or MPP that are ALL South Asian. Maybe if enough of the citizens of that culture cared enough to become Canadian citizens, they could actually vote. But if they don't care enough for this country, so be it.
By Mark | JANUARY 12, 2017 11:45 AM
So much for listening to the electorate and saving money in her office. Just another Liberal who likes to spend with no consequence. When will she get it through her head?
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