"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

La-di-da La-di-da

I received an e-mail requesting I correct my records. I had received a letter to which I responded formally, copied in a Blog and forwarded as a letter to the Editor of The Auroran . The Mayor's correction stated her letter came from Council not the Mayor.

I regretted I was unable to accommodate the request since there was no record of Council's authority to send the letter . The Mayor responded there was.

Yes, well, but I have a problem with that. A Council is deemed to have legislated either by Resolution or Bylaw. Bylaws must bear the Seal of the Corporation over-written by the signature of the Clerk of the Municipality. Decisions are confirmed by Bylaw, in case any strings are left hanging, so to speak.

There is no record of a vote to authorise a letter.

The Mayor's request presents another problem; lines provided for signatures at the end of the aforementioned letter on the Mayor's stationery number eight. Aurora Council has nine members.

If a document fails to cite the relevant Resolution or Bylaw and has not been circulated to ALL Members of Council, I would contend it has no official status.

Though it can be deemed to be a statement of intent by six individuals who happen to be members of Aurora Council.

Material in the letter was produced through services rendered by a lawyer with municipal expertise. The decision to retain his services was by vote in open council. The purpose was not stated. Deliberations were conducted behind closed doors. No report out to Council took place. No resolution put forward for further action. No vote taken. Nothing confirmed by Bylaw.

It follows therefore no authority was given for an informal complaint under the Code on Conduct written by a lawyer and signed by six individuals to be processed in a letter. Council authority may not be assumed.

Further to that, if additional services by the lawyer were not authorised, payment of same becomes questionable. On what basis does the Chief Financial Officer issue cheques from the town treasury for services rendered without proper authorisation.The Procurement Bylaw does not permit.

How can the Municipality be liable for cost if service was not duly authorised?

A formal complaint bearing the same six signatures has now, I understand, been forwarded to the Town's Integrity Commissioner.

When Council votes , the Clerk of the Municipality is responsible to prepare the public record "without note or comment. Processing decisions takes matters from the political to the Administration which makes the process corporate.

Traditionally, a Mayor has the Clerk of the Municipality at her elbow. If a council debate takes a direction likely to prove impossible to administer for any reason , the clerk thereby has the opportunity to discreetly alert the Presiding Member without entering the political debate.

Since the Town has had a Chief Administrative Officer, the practice has been for the Presiding Member to be flanked by both Officers of the Corporation. If the debate might be taking council beyond their realm of jurisdiction, the opportunity was there for discreet re-direction.

This mayor decided early in the term the arrangement did not suit her. Both officers now occupy seats at sufficient distance to ensure little interference with the Mayor's and Councillor MacEachern's jurisdiction .

We have a situation where Officers of the Corporation are regularly instructed in detail how to carry out their function by politicians...mostly the Mayor and Councillor MacEachern.

As we can see, from the current situation, with calamitous result.

Six members of council with no administrative guidance or involvement whatsoever, and with murky intent have engineered an expensive process for an objective which has not been stated and results which cannot be ascertained to be in the interest of the Corporation .

And the tab is still mounting.




Anonymous said...

holy smokes!!

Anonymous said...

"Our town staff is hardworking,committed and conscientious in carrying out their responsibilities and duties on behalf of the Town. Their efforts are supported and greatly appreciated by Council. Your publications and statements appear to have unjustifiably and unnecessarily disparaged and maligned Town staff and must cease without delay."

Interesting that this was signed by Morris and her loyal consorts.
Dick Illingsworth was moved to write after a rather raucous and disturbingly dysfunctional council meeting (chaired by Ms. Morris)in the Auroran May 20, 2008

" BRICKBATS to Councillor Evelina MacEachern for
her constant third degree questioning of staff
personnel, especially the CAO, and staff reports with question after question although the procedural
bylaw restricts members of council from speaking more than twice on an issue. Staff members don’t
deserve this form of treatment!

BRICKBATS to members of Aurora Council who can't understand the difference between the
minutes of a committee meeting and the recommendations
in the committee report. The minutes can't be changed but the recommendations can be
adopted, defeated or amended. How many times do staff members have to explain it to you? "

Have things changed.. no.
Does Mceachern still engage in this type of behaviour... check her interaction with the last remaining Senior Manager from 2008 Al Downey and the answer is clearly no.
Does Gaertner still ask staff to dummy down reports so she can understand them...yes.
Does Al Wilson review expenses and lambasts staff when he disagrees with one..yes.
This whole issue reeks because as the saying goes... a fish stinks from the head. While Evelyn is not blameless the bigger problem is a litiginous Mayor who continues to rack up big legal bills for what? For the Evelyn bashers ask yourself how much was wasted on legal bills surrounding the off site meeting fiasco? Only to have the chief instigator (Phyllis) upon election as Mayor quietly go off to the regional off site meeting. Such hypocracy still lives on today!