"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

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Invisible Hands

I  don't try to make sense of it. When you've lived past half a century. allowed life to take its course,  you notice a  pattern.

I am wont to say in  less than intellectual terms, life is like a big jigsaw puzzle; the pieces are scattered on a card table and a pair of invisible hands are poised above one's head, ever ready to move the pieces into place.

With  a few election victories and defeats under my belt, I tended to think of it like a book. A chapter ends, I turn the page  to see how the next chapter will  unfold. As the  main character,I do of course have a role; like recognising cues.

I never felt the need for a plan. I  went where life took me. Of course I had to pay attention. Large and small, the signs were always there. Sometimes they just said, STOP and WAIT

A small sign appeared on Thursday. I  was searching for something and unearthed  something I wasn't looking for but was both  delighted and disturbed to find

Recently  the town solicitor reported on his review of  the Culture Centre Contract. He  noted it  was written when the  town solicitor's office was vacant; the associate solicitor was on maternity leave; a  law clerk was the sole legal resource.

The contract does  not reflect the municipality's interest.  He recommended,  at minimum, Council  should have representation on the board.

Readers may recall the Mayor's opposition to the proposal to review the contract.

It was an intriguing position. The Mayor had no responsibility in the matter. No obvious reason to throw a veil over the facts. Except  perhaps  to avoid the necessity of  undoing what was done, if what was done proved to be untenable.

When the report was presented, I expressed appreciation.  I noted it was probably a discreet version of what actually took place

The solicitor's task was to review the contract for shortcomings. Nothing more. He did that. But offered more. He  provided an explanation or excuse for the wretched contract.

When I remarked on discretion,I had no idea what would come to hand.

On Thursday, I had occasion to scan a portfolio. On page 5 of Council Minutes, dated March 24th 2009, a heading jumped out at me.

14. F.506-014. ..........Church Street Cultural Services Agreement.

The Clause recommended the contract be signed and $113,000. of the 2009 budget be paid on signing, prior to approval of the budget.

A further $113,666, be paid in two installments after the 2009 budget is approved.

An amendment was made to the motion; moved by Councillor Mac Eachern ... seconded by Councillor Buck;

That the Mayor and Clerk be authorised to sign the agreements subject to review by the Town Solicitor,Christopher Cooper; and

That should the solicitor find any areas of concern or the need for substantive revision, Council be notified and the matter be brought back to a Special Meeting , if called for, prior to execution of the agreement; and

That a definition of the word 'permit" be added to the definitions section of the Lease Agreement.

It was an incredible find.

From the first meeting of that term, it was made clear, in a steady shower of denigration, that nothing I had to say would be relevant to anyone at the council table.

MacEachern was first up to bat when I was  first recognised by the Chair. A spurious point of order was raised and supported by the chair. Suitably chastened and placatory, I apologised and said I would try to do better.On my mother's grave,I swear I did that.

Minutes later, former Councillor Wilson repeated the point of order fiasco  to the scarcely hidden amusement of other members.

Wilson used to let his eyes roll into the back of his head and tongue loll from the side of his mouth to the tip of his chin in full view of the camera, each time I spoke.

Despite the futility  but with full  confidence in  public discernment and  that approbation would fall where it must, I carried on relentless.

Later, MacEachern, being chief hatchet man ,so-to-speak, adopted a different strategy. Substance in my comments would be recognised and amendments made to recommendations, appearing to take my concerns into consideration.

The amendment noted above is a classic example of the modus operandi, an expression frequently coined by Mor of Mac while pointing a bony little finger frequently trembling in rage in my direction.

The point I make here and now is our current town solicitor,  not part of the administration then, did not discover that the town solicitor of the day was directed to review and bring to the attention of council, modifications if need be. to the two contracts with the Culture Centre Board. Even though the recommendation  providing authority to sign  and the amendment is part of the public record.

We learn now , there were indeed modifications necessary to the contract to protect the town's interest which were never brought forward  and I submit, were never intended to be brought to public  attention.

From the record of March 24th 2009  Council meeting  it appears , even now, information provided to Council on the eve of 2012, is not precise.


Anonymous said...

Et tu, Brute?

Anonymous said...

Holy shit, Batwoman, you do keep find the oveflow tanks. I still think the new lawyer for the town in sound but we will have to see where this new information leads. The fox will not be well pleased so please take care out there,

Anonymous said...

Let us raise the glass a bit early to our very own Aurora Energizer Bunny.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, you have rattled the cage of Evalina. Incoming hate mail to greet the New Year !

Anonymous said...

And on your watch.
Imagine, all this time after the fact, you uncover a problem by reading Council Minutes March 24, 2009.
You were complicit, as I see it.

Seems like you were napping.
Two different councils.

Anonymous said...

Weird stuff. Someone out there thinks of itself as Caesar and believe Evelyn has stabbed it, Now who could that possibly be ? Pretensions of education anyone ?

Anonymous said...

Well done, you've clearly drawn blood.

Anonymous said...

4:46 P.M.
Wrong guy. Brutus nailed a friend. Evelyn does not attack friends. Back to the books.

Anonymous said...

Evelyn WILL attack friends, IF they need attacking.

They are still not getting it Ev.

Anonymous said...

9:24 A.M.
I respectfully disagree about Evelyn attacking friends although you may know her better than I do. She loves a fight and a real friend would know and relish the encounters. But you cannot claim she " attacks " friends except when she sarcastically refers to the hind quarters of Mormac as " my little friend."
i've thought about this crack all day and cannot let it stand.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:26. I only used the word "attack" in direct response to the language used in the post above mine. Not a word I would use, and I agree that is looks rather harsh - though Evelyn DID publish it.

What I meant to say was that in the discharge of her duties, Evelyn recognizes no friend nor foe, (on a personal level), but rather she pursues, defends, and "attacks", the issue, howsoever and from whomsoever it comes. In other words, she will not abdicate her responsibilities if the position that her "friend" is advocating does not meet her political scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3 January, 2012 7:52 AM said.....

"What I meant to say was that in the discharge of her duties, Evelyn recognizes no friend nor foe, (on a personal level), but rather she pursues, defends, and "attacks", the issue, howsoever and from whomsoever it comes. In other words, she will not abdicate her responsibilities if the position that her "friend" is advocating does not meet her political scrutiny."


This blog IS NOT discharging her duties. The Town does not support this blog financially and she does this on her own.

Stop confusing this blog as an extension of her duties as a councillor. That is part of the problem.

Anonymous said...


Wow. Some pretty serious rage buried in there.

I am afraid it is you that is confused. I do not confuse this BLOG per se as an extension of Evelyn's duties. I see it simply as a relevant means of communication, being used effectively by a member of council who was duly elected to act in our interests.

I am interested in the candid thoughts of our councillors. I get Evelyn's candid thoughts here. Her thoughts and perspective as they relate to the town's business are relevant to me. In fact, I am quite comfortable with the idea that any councillor's thoughts, however and whenever expressed, ARE an extension of their council duties. You know, communicating with constituents?

I would pay attention to the other councillors candid thoughts if they cared (or had the guts) to make make them known, through a blog, radio, youtube, whatever. All but one other choose not to. And I do read the other one, for what it is worth.

Anonymous said...

Lovely Whack there.