My job as a Councillor is to respond to the will of the people.
Catherine Marshall applied and received delegate status at a Council Meeting so that she could provide Council with that direction on the question of amendments to the procedural bylaw.
I asked if it was her opinion that everyone who came to the podium and took the microphone represents the will of the people.The muffled answer appeared to be in the affirmative.
Then I asked if that was the case, what was the job of members of Council. The answer was a little less forthright.
Ms Marshall has great confidence in the rightness of her own opinion. When the environmental committee was first created, Catherine was a member. The committee was David Tomlinson's idea. I learned that when the Mayor recounted all David's achievements, when he received another Heritage Award on Tuesday evening.
An early decision by the committee was to have several thousand leaflets printed and circulated to promote ant-litter day.
Keep in mind, the function of an advisory committees is to advise Council..
Committees do not make decisions. They do not have budgets. They are volunteers who put their heads together and come up with solutions to problems and advise the elected body. Who in turn receive the advice at a general committee meeting. Which in turn recommends or not, decisions to a Council meeting Where the decision is ratified and staff receive their direction..
If an individual or group or organisation is waiting for a decision, they wait three times longer than needed and it costs three times more than it needs to.
I think that's lousy customer service and the community at large is ill-served.
Last week at a Chamber of Commerce lunch, Mayor Dawe introduced Anthony Iurello, Manager in the CAO's department, to the business people and told them he, Mr.Iurello, is the man to see to cut red tape at the town hall.
Catherine Marshall, an initial member of the environmental committee may have suggested the leaflet littering idea. I don't know about that. I do know she designed the leaflet because that is her business . The committee approved the design ,she took it to the printer and gave the order for thousands of pieces of litter to be distributed to promote anti-litter day.
Neither Catherine Marshall or the committee had authority to spend town funds. Councillors Morris and Gaertner were both members of the committee. The Director of Public Works was the committee's resource person and there was also a committee secretary. It seems no-one told the committee or Catherine Marshall they had no authority to spend town money.
When I later raised the issue at a council meeting, Public Works Director said in soothing tones. "It's
alright I have money in my budget, I can use to pay for it"
There may have been other councillors who shared my concern but they didn't say so.
Morris and Gaertner took the position Council should be grateful for Ms.Marshall's efforts. Graphic designs are her stock in trade and the work was done for the committee and the town at no charge
and it was disgraceful for a Councillor to criticise Ms.Marshall's voluntary contribution..
I didn't feel in the least bit guilty. I hadn't started a blog then so the story was never told...until now..
David Tomlinson wrote a letter to the editor ,as did Gordon Barnes another member of the environment
committee and both Citizens of Different Years. advising the community during the last election that I was the Councillor causing the dysfunction on the last council.
Advisory committees who don't have authority to make decisions now have budgets to spend.
When the environmental committee was created it was to be seven members. Eleven citizens applied.
So Councillor Gaertner moved and Morris seconded , let's appoint them all. So we did.
During the discussion on whether the committee should be created, I pointed out the Director of Public Works would be expected to attend the meetings. He modestly responded he didn't mind.
In his first budget after the committee was appointed, he recommended an environmental engineer be hired. Asked about function, he responded "to identify environmental initiatives" I noted "and to attend environmental committee meetings no doubt"
He lowered his eyes modestly once again and did not respond.
And that's the story on how Topsy grows, boys and girls
Environmental Puritanism is the new religion, dontcha know?