It’s a time of sorrow and remembrance at Hamilton City Council.
Councillor Bernie Morelli, who served Ward 3 in the east end for 22 years, has died after battling serious health problems for several years.
According to colleagues, he died at home as per his wishes, after being released from hospital on Sunday night.
Morelli’s death prompted the postponement of Wednesday’s general issues committee meeting.
Mayor Bratina, who has asked that municipal flags be lowered throughout the city, notes that colleagues would not be able to give proper consideration to lengthy and complex matters.
Morelli, who was 70, is being remembered as a mentor by many others members of City Council who describe a man with a “gruff exterior” and a “soft heart” who loved his city and his ward.
Councillor Brenda Johnson notes that it was because of Morelli that she ran for a seat on city council. She says that “it’s like grandpa died today”.
Councillor Tom Jackson adds that he’s thrilled that council was able to approve plans for a recreation and senior’s centre in ward 3, prior to Bernie’s death. Work will begin this year on that project, which Jackson stresses will form part of his “legacy”.
Councillor Brian McHattie says you’ll also see Bernie’s legacy for decades to come, in the behaviour of those who’ve learned from him over the years.
Andrea Horwath is also offering her condolences to the Morelli family, his constituents and colleagues at City Hall.
Horwath served on Hamilton City Council with Morelli for just over two terms and she says, “although we didn’t always agree, he was always a passionate advocate for his Ward 3 constituents.”
She adds, “Bernie leaves quite a legacy of service from his many years on council and his dedication to several boards and advisory committees, including, most notably, the Hamilton Police Services Board.”
Horwath calls Morelli a true friend and advocate for Hamilton and says he will be greatly missed.