I appreciate and respect the work and service firefighters provide to all of us. They truly are the first responders to an emergency. I've witnessed numerous emergencies where police haven't been around and had to respond and act as both firefighter and cop. Unfortunately their political influence has always been immeasurable to all politians along with the police, teachers and many other government unions. It should be of no surprise how their "collective" agreements are signed.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 April 2017 at 09:37
Political influence of firefighters has deeper roots and less to do with the union than most realise.
Historically, for most of Ontario,Volunteer Brigades were the initial and only organisation within
There may even still be small communities in the Province dependent on Volunteer Firefighters
for programs that bring a community together ; from fire protection, organising baseball,support for widows and orphans and anything else that might require a collective effort.
When I was first elected in Aurora, the Mayor and several Councillors were former Volunteers.
I soon learned that had been the ongoing pattern since the beginning of settlement.Everything grew out of that initial organisation.
In my time the Fire Chief was on the town's payroll. He was chosen from the membership by the
Volunteers. He was in his mid-seventies, showing no signs of retirement.
Firefighters were paid once a year; $5. a call.
Council was organized in Standing Committees. Finance ,Works, Parks , Police ,Fire and Bylaws.
Citizens served on boards and Commissions;Planning Board, Recreation Commission . A council member represented the town on these independent bodies. The library board was appointed by Boards of Education .The Mayor was Council's representative.
Aurora's Reeve and Deputy Reeve represented the town at York County and a town appointee served on the Holland Valley Conservation Authority.
Standing committees numbered two members and a chair.
Most Councillors chaired a committee and served as vice chair or member on another.
All members were entitled to attend and participate in discussion at committee level. Only
appointed members could vote.
Members received staff advice at Committee level and recommended to Council.Only Councillors participated in Council debate . Committee Reports and recommendations were presented by the Chair. The Chair had to be prepared to respond to questions and support recommendations.
The town was responsible only for services to property. Councillors soon learned what they needed to know to be accountable for decisions made. The public were kept informed through the grape vine and two newspapers. Editorials were published weekly.
Council meetings were not televised. Committee meetings were in camera.
With ten times the population and elections reduced from once a year, to one in four,
turn-out was pretty much the same now as it was then.