"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

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Councillors Do Have A Function

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There Is Heirarchy":

The Mayor of Calgary is into his second term. If this drinking is a recent thing, I think that he has the "experience" that you beleive he needs.

Staff are accountable to council however if you cannot allow them to do their jobs without watching over their shoulders, why have them?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 January 2015 at 08:43


In the term before last , a  staff re-organization was recommended without direction from Council.

Responsibility for Human Resources was transferred to Chief Financial Officer. 

Maintenance  of Facilities was transferred to Director of Environment and Infrastructure from  Director of Leisure Services .

Bylaw Enforcement  and eventually Customer Service was transferred to Chief Building Official . from Director of Administrative Services .

Communications were transferred to the Chief Administrative Officer from Director of  Administrative  Services 

Directors with new authority were not hired with credentials for the new responsibility.

No problems observed or documented indicated necessary change.

I found no reason to support the re-organization.
Nothing commended it to me.
It was another of those notorious eight-to-one votes.

In  a subsequent audit, the auditor noted  problems possibly due to the additional responsibility.

Nothing intervened to persuade me my initial judgement was wrong.

Instead occurrences  and complaints from the public encouraged me to believe I was bang on.

Three separate dates for completion of the Aurora  Family Leisure Complex project and the massive over-run on budget is a prime example.

It cannot be swept under the rug.

For a Councillor to fulfil his/her job does not call for taking over staff responsibility.

It calls for vigilance, judgement and carrying out a Councillor's  function.


Anonymous said...

I thought that Morris-initiated reorganization might have been reversed last term.

Anonymous said...

13:23 - you are funny. Just about every other Morris-initiated thing was reversed, I guess there was an opportunity to deal with the present rather than erase the past.

Anonymous said...

The lack of a completion date penalty is just plain weird. It is definitely not in the town's best interests. They can be held up indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

The Hoover dam, a large and complex engineering feat on a grand scale, was completed ahead of schedule. There were financial penalties if the work was not completed on time. It was constructed in the 1930's.

Today we have this nonsense on the leisure complex. The contractor found mold, roof now needs more support and the completion date is guesswork. The mayor and council have to determine who is responsible among the staff persons and departments and take action to prevent a recurrence.

The problem I see is most of the council members are incapable of taking appropriate action because they have to ask staff what action needs to be taken. They could spend months and months trying to make sense of staff reports.

Now I understand we are going to attempt to build a works garage on a difficult site with a flower garden on the roof.

Anonymous said...


I commend you.

You are starting to sound like me.

And I couldn't have said it any better.

Anonymous said...

The New Library was brought up during a single term.
The Councillors [ not staff ] got permission from the property owners and went from there.

Anonymous said...

When Staff operate as a Team, there are both positives & negatives - one of the problems we appear to be facing is accountability in that many contribute to a single decision. When the direction turns out to be a controversial one, there is only the head of the the team to take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

It does look to be a mess.

Anonymous said...

The CAO of Vaughan bit the dust when vaughan's new "leeds" building went into huge over runs and problems.

Anonymous said...

"Staff re-organization was recommended without direction from Council"...maybe not all members of council, but I would bet there was direction from at least one or two.

Anonymous said...

I remeber that whole reorganization BS. I think they said they were taking some BS consultants recommendation to save the Town some money. I think they need to hire some new PR people.

Anonymous said...

After the last "reorganization" I lost track of who is responsible for what.

Presumably there is a department Director whose function, in part, is to oversee the preparation of building specifics, site, engineering, costing, timetable, etc.

I would further presume that this person has a degree in architecture/engineering and is therefore professionally qualified to provide reports/recommendations to Council that form the basis of tenders being awarded.

Anonymous said...

If people only new the way these new Leeds building are being built by "architectural engineers". I wouldn't let my dog live in anyone of these structures.

Anonymous said...

Brampton is in trouble too. Their numbers looked ok on the surface but there has been nothing set aside to deal with infra-structure in their growing town.

Anonymous said...

And the Leisure Complex was supposed to be such an easy one compared to the Joint Oops.....

Anonymous said...


There probably is such a person but on closer examination I bet it would be claimed he/she is too busy to do it. Probably be a recommendation to council to hire a consultant to oversee the tenders, construction timetable etc.