"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 15 June 2007

An Old Morality Tale

I said I would copy the exchange between myself and Councillor McEachern. I have not done so. I have mixed feelings about the merits of reproducing something which may or may not contribute to the public debate. I think the exchange is revealing. I'm just not sure the end justifies the means.

Putting something into writing is not like having a chat. There are all kinds of reinforcements present in a face to face dialogue. Reproducing someone else's written comments is even more problematic.

I have always stuck to the principle, I am responsible only for my position on any issue that comes before council. I do not profess to be always right. I only commit to be always forthright. I am glad to be judged on my contribution to the public debate. I believe others should judged by the same token.

Scott Somerville was our interim Chief Administration Officer last year. He has the same breadth of experience as myself but from an administrative angle. One time, we were discussing a matter which represented a clear conflict of interest. I was intent on bringing it to the attention of council.

He asked “Evelyn, why should you always be the one?”

”Because no-one else will.”, I answered.

“Exactly.”, he said.

As it evolved, no advantage was gained by the individual who had the conflict. The matter was resolved in a different direction.

His advice was sensible. Scandal was averted. The person who had the conflict clearly did not recognize the impropriety. A cloud would have been cast. It's shade would have spread widely. Was it my job to cast it? I think not.

The current council is not like any I have experienced. I have serious concerns. People are being hurt. To this point, in my perspective, the town has not been well-served. Yet as a councillor, I can only govern my own behaviour...and trust to the discernment of the community at large.

Experience tells me that trust is seldom misplaced. It's a long road that doesn't have a turn.

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