"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

Friday, 30 May 2014

Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down.

A motion requires a  seconder to get on the table. A Councillor is not required to second a motion they do not support.

It's a courtesy for a motion to be seconded for discussion.  Lack of agreement may even be stated at the time  of seconding.

Staff can  make recommendations without notice or permission. Delegations may appear on 24 hours notice  and speak  for 5 minutes to an issue.

A Councillor in Aurora is ham-strung  by a  Procedure  of their own making . If successful in getting an issue on the table for discussion, a Councillor may speak for 2 minutes.

The courtesy was extended on Tuesday. Councillor Abel moved a motion. Councillor Thompson seconded it for discussion but stated he did not support it. He spoke against the motion.

Three members of Council could not participate or influence the vote in any way because of Conflict of Interest.  Two did  participate before declaring the obvious Conflict.

Councillor Ballard was  absent . A bare quorum were left to debate the motion. Two of  five voted in favour. The seconder  was not one of them.

When no seconder came forward for the simple motion for a  review of the Farmers' Market Bylaw, it was  clearly an intended snub.

It was particularly  egregious since  a  non-elected person with a vested interest, had already  been allowed 5 minutes of Council time to speak against the motion

Dignity and authority of Council has steadily eroded  over the past  number of years.

During Mayor Jones last term, a loser in previous elections, came to the podium  in public forum soon after to upbraid myself . I had been elected with a forty- seven vote  advantage. His voice would rise in hysteria as he spoke.

I  informed my friend Tim  privately after the first occasion not to let him do it again

But he did.  I told him  again I would  take the matter in hand if it happened  once more

The  third time , The Mayor stopped him.  But not before  a couple of councillors, Nigel Kean being
one,  indicated Mr.Wilson was being denied his rights.

The  Mayor and the Mayor alone is responsible for protecting the dignity  and authority
of Council. If he/she has no respect, the principle is soon obscured.

Each member is elected separately but  once elected , Council is the representative body of the  people.

If any member is  disrespected,  the whole is disrespected.

If the choice of the electorate is disrespected, the community is disrespected.

When a Council disrespects  itself the community is  betrayed.

This Council has not done that before. I think they planned it this time. I  don't think they understood the implications.  But  there really is no excuse.

They are Canadians. They aspired to elected office. All of their lives they have lived under a democratic system of government.

Council Chambers are designed to de-note the separation between elected and non-elected.

No-one else has the right to speak  during a Council meeting, unless invited to do so by the Presiding member .

Members of Parliament are referred to as Honourable. It's not  done in deference to the individual . It's not a mutual admiration society.

The  Office commands respect as the symbol of  the right to govern ourselves.

However fraught with frailty and frustration that might entail, it is the best alternative.It is the one we have chosen.

The best part of my life has been spent defending it.

I am not about to back off now


Anonymous said...

Councillor Thompson seconded Councillor Abel's motion even though he was opposed and spoke against it.

This is the responsible thing to do. Motions are generally not made lightly and only after a good deal of thought.

The fact that there was no seconder for your motion was a gross insult, not just to you but also to those members of Council that were present at the table and the mayor should have requested one of the councillors to second it. In my opinion he showed a callow disregard for the functioning of a democratic government that exists to serve the people.

If I were you I would put forward another Notice of Motion, identically worded, dare them to sit on their hands, and if it were to come before Council as a Motion I would challenge the members, and particularly the mayor, to allow it to die a second time.

I would hope that you draw a crowd to witness this dereliction of duty by elected officials should they once again refuse to second your motion.

I'm not sure what the Procedural By-Law says or for that matter the Municipal Act. But I will have a look.

Anonymous said...

From what I have managed to pick up around town, there is quite a bit of remorse that no one seconded your motion. I expect the excuse would be that they were concentrating on 'more important ' items -like the s-e designation [ which was a stunner ] and clear garbage bags [ which was just dumb ]-
Keep up the good work,

Not Even a Scintilla said...

Oh, I'm sure there's a tsunami of sorrow out there, 11:17.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right, procedurally, as usual.



1. A motion shall be moved and seconded before the Chair shall put the question and the motion is recorded in the minutes of the Meeting.


2. A Member may move a motion in order to initiate discussion and debate and that Member may vote in opposition to the motion. A seconder of a motion may vote against the motion.

Implicit in 2. is the initiation of discussion and debate. How would it be if all motions were not seconded? The town would die and we along with it.

The motion that did not receive a seconder dealt with a town By-Law, and in particular with an event and a situation that has on occasion gotten out of control. All the motion sought was for staff to examine the By-Law to determine whether any amendments might be required to improve an unhealthy situation.

Sitting at home watching the last Council meeting, and in particular the silent, unmoving councillors around the table frankly made me sick. I had actually voted for some of these people, and here they were depriving me of an opportunity to have staff examine and report back on a matter that certainly in the town's interest, and to which taxpayers have contributed financially.

I was particularly upset at councillors Abel and Thompson, two members whose intelligence is slightly above par. If my assumption is correct, then the balance of councillors venture dangerously into the sub-par netherworld.

Failure to second any meaningful motion is a serious failure on the part of those we elect, particularly since they are not necessarily stating an opinion, simply permitting the town's business to be conducted.

I don't know if a mayor can indicate that a seconder is not betraying a position personally held.

Anonymous said...

It is possible that the Mayor is not aware that anyone can second a motion & he need only ask someone or do it himself. As far as I know [ subject to correction ] he did not attend any classes on municipal government, the former clerk who used to keep him in the loop has gone and that information might not be in those little booklets on How To Be Mayor that he took/takes to meetings ...Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Yes anyone can second it IF they wanted to discuss it. Dod you ever think that they did not want to discuss it?