Jeff Lehman (politician)
|Jeff R. Lehman|
|46th Mayor of Barrie|
December 6, 2010
|Preceded by||David Aspden|
|Barrie City Councillor for (Ward 2) Downtown|
|Preceded by||David Aspden|
|Succeeded by||Lynn Strachan|
Jeffrey Robert Lehman (born June 1975) is an economist and current mayor of Barrie, Ontario. The Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, he has played a central role in many of the issues affecting the City of Barrie during the current term of Council (2006–2010). As an economist, his work specializes in managing growth and investing in urban infrastructure, and he has served as an advisor to many large Canadian cities including Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo Region, Regina, and Hamilton.
Lehman was raised in Barrie, moving from Toronto in 1977. He attended Allandale Heights Public School, and Barrie Central Collegiate Institute. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University, and earned a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics (LSE), graduating with first class honours. His parents, Bob and Joan Lehman, founded Lehman and Associates, a land use planning firm, in 1978; Jeff worked in this family business while he was growing up. He currently lives near downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and his baby daughter, Cassie.
Following graduating with a Master’s degree in Regional & Urban Planning from the London School of Economics, Lehman was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and continued to live and work in London for two years as an academic. He taught urban and housing economics while helping to set up the Cities Programme at the Department of Socioloigy of the LSE, an academic program that links social science, architecture, and planning.
Lehman has worked for cities across the country to manage redevelopment and plan investment in their urban infrastructure. In 2000-2001, he worked with the City of Ottawa on projects that included a new district library, expansions to two community centres, and a plan to reduce corporate real estate costs following the amalgamation of the City of Ottawa and surrounding regions, which ultimately reduced costs by some $4M.
Lehman co-founded MKI, a small economics advisory firm, in 2002. Lehman’s work has included planning new transit systems in Waterloo, Ottawa and Toronto, and planning for new jobs in Regina, Calgary, Hamilton, Niagara, and Burlington. Lehman has been a keynote speaker at a number of national conferences on subjects such as public transit and smart growth.
In 2005, Lehman established the Growing By Degrees task force to expand post-secondary education opportunities for students in Barrie. This volunteer organization has worked for the last five years to help grow university and college programs in Barrie. Lehman was elected to Barrie City Council in the municipal election in November 2006, representing Ward 2, the City Centre. The race for the Ward 2 seat was a close three-way battle early on, but Lehman pulled away in the autumn and easily won the election with 49.98% of the vote, falling just one vote short of an absolute majority.
Lehman was elected by his peers as the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council in 2007, and later, was chosen as the Chair of the City’s Growth Management Working Group in 2008.
In February 2010 Lehman announced that he would be a candidate for mayor for the City of Barrie in the October 2010 elections.
Lehman won the election for Mayor on October 25, 2010, succeeding Mayor Dave Aspden. He won with 39% of the votes. He was sworn in as the 46th Mayor of Barrie on December 6, 2010. On October 27th, 2014, Lehman was reelected for a second term, winning in a landslide victory, with over 90% of the vote.
Lehman led the City’s political battle with neighbouring Innisfil over a boundary dispute; talks had broken down and the City, Town of Innisfil, and County of Simcoe were battling over contrasting visions for how the area should grow. At the heart of the dispute was whether additional jobs and population should be allocated to the City of Barrie, or dispersed among the 16 municipalities in Simcoe County; Barrie argued growth should occur in cities with urban services. In June 2009, the Province of Ontario stepped in and resolved the dispute, awarding Barrie additional lands for growth and the lion's share of the additional jobs. The resolution was seen as a major win for the City of Barrie.
Other major initiatives
In 2008, Lehman created the Historic Neighbourhoods Strategy. The HNS is a plan for the older neighbourhoods in Barrie, generally those built before World War II. The strategy was innovative, as it focused on neighbourhoods, instead of considering services city-wide, and because it was citizen-led. The project was co-ordinated by a committee of 16 volunteers from the 7 historic neighbourhoods. It was approved by City Council in June 2010.
Lehman played a prominent role in the battle to save two schools in his ward, Prince of Wales PS, which failed, and Barrie Central Collegiate, including starting a Facebook group called “Save Barrie Central”, which attracted 3,000 members in its first week.
Lehman has also worked on issues related to small business in Barrie, including eliminating the basic business license fee.
- 2006 election results
- Watt, Laurie (23 February 2010). "Lehman Joins Mayor's Race". Simcoe.com.
- "Barrie Municipal Election Unofficial Results". The Barrie Examiner. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Watt, Laurie (8 September 2009). City "Studies Innisfil Land". Simcoe.com.
- McInroy, Ian. "Both sides seek changes to boundary adjustment". Barrie Examiner.
- "Historic Neighbourhood Strategy". The Corporation of the City of Barrie.
- McInroy, Ian. "Province could save school". Barrie Examiner.