"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, 19 January 2013

The Supreme Court Can Quash a Municipal Bylaw.

I'm running through  items in my memory bank and taking you with me.
I had a conversation with the town solicitor yesterday. I recollected the railway museum project  and how it was stopped. 
Does the Ontario Municipal Board still have authority to hear appeals against  a decision by Council. 
It seems  OMB authority has been narrowed since then. But I recently read of  an appeal that surprised me. So I need to confirm. 
The solicitor is confident  an  agreement to purchase cultural services is within Council's l authority 
In the same way  garbage collection and snowplowing.are contracted.
I don't see cultural services as similar to snow-plowing or garbage collection.
Both are hard services. Specifications are drawn up. Tenders  are called. Contracts are awarded 
A rigid process is followed.A rigid service is provided.  
Council will deal with two comparative  items. in this week's agenda. 
One is the contract for culture services.No opportunity for public input. Negotiations in secret
The second  a report  recommends  a process to obtain public input  into disposition of surplus public buildings. before a decision is made. 
A resolution was passed over a year since.  A schedule of workshops taking  until 2014 to complete is proposed before a decision is made.  
The  decision has been pending  since the years 2000 and 2006.
Substantial funds have already been spent on  consultant studies and engineering reports on the building structures.
Second recommendation is to sign a contract for  purchase of culture and  surrender of a public facility, for a dollar a year   
A consultant study was undertaken in 2008. It recommended,. a format for  joint heritage and cultural  services to be provided and become  financially self-sufficient.
The agreement  eventually created and signed   made no reference to  self-sufficiency. It called for free use  and maintenance of  a public facility, with a formula for an annual  increase in funding  of  3%.
At no time was the public informed of the change in direction..
Their input was not sought.
A Board was created by the municipality at the municipality's expense.
A not-for-profit board with a constitution that  calls for self-direction  self -appointment of officers and closed meetings.
Public money spent  out of sight and sound of the public.
A new agreement is now recommended for signature. 
None of the features of  governance noted above are changed
An agreement will be signed with a  board  having the  authority of a private corporation ..
No government regulations apply.No municipal policies will  adhere.
It occurs to me , if a wily gang of scam artists, intent on creating a scheme for siphoning  funds out of the town treasury, with all the appearance of regularity, they could not do better. Town staff  have inadvertently created the perfect model  for  a shell game.

First, retain a solicitor to create a non-profit board  with   separate and  independent authority. Then proceed to to funnel money from the town treasury to the  coffers of the board for purchase of airy-fairy services that can't be traced or measured  for intrinsic value.
When a song is sung ,  a piano piece  performed  or a painting  gazed upon, how are key performance indicators captured and 
measured against funds expended. 
As tax collectors, what do we have to show for funds expended .
The OMB may not have authority in the matter. 
But any person may make an application to the Supreme Court to quash a municipal bylaw.    




Anonymous said...

Give us some time to catch up !

Anonymous said...


But the Supreme Court has to decide whether to hear the application.

Anonymous said...

It's a great scenerio but just not feasible IMO. We are stuck with the ones we brought to the dance. It is on their heads now.