"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

Wednesday 7 May 2008


I believe every property owner needs to be informed about town assets and nitty gritty about how things are managed. Municipal staff are our main resource and the key to success.. They labour in the background while politicians are front and centre.It's how it has to be.

There are 413 municipalities in Ontario. Over a hundred have Chief Administrative Officers. The rest are managed by Clerk-Administrators or Clerk-Treasurers.

Towns are governed by a myriad of provincial regulations. Under the Constitution, we have no right to exist. Generally speaking we are here to provide the services most practically administered at a lower level.

The education for clerks and treasurers happens on the job. The Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers designs Certificate Courses provided at Queen's University by correspondence.
course. No other credentials can fullfil the function.
Because they function under provincial legislation and there are on-going amendments it is the clerk-treasurer who provides the expert ise to elected representatives.

The Associations of Clerks and Treasurers and Chief Administrator Officers are compact groups. They are always available to each other to consult on the various problems and solutions they inevitably share. Whatever develops ,somebody has had experience of it. They know twhat works to solve the problem and what doesn't.

Such was the trust established in previous councils, I came to believeit was the Clerk's job to keep the elected body within the law. When I returned to council in 2004, I said that to Larry Alyson, the CAO. He promptly disabused me of the notion. He said it was his job to advise Council. He could not make them take the advice.

Well, I thought what does that say about the efficacy of provincial rules and regulations. If a council decides not to heed the advice they receive, who is to say they should?

I thought working for nine political bosses was like walking a tight-rope. What staff had over t politicians was continuity. In bad times all they needed was to survive until the next election. That has become more difficult with the advent of the four year term. What they can never do is engage in open dispute with political masters.

The logic is simple. If skills and professional expertise lie in one particular field that's where you look for alternative opportunities.

If background reveals conflict with elected representatives, a resume, no matter how good, will be diminished when perceived by other politicians. Not even when they leave a job are they likely to speak negatively of previous employers.

That's why they strive to stay out of political debate. Also why it is inappropriate and completely unfair for politicians to draw them into the hurly-burly.of political action.

In our current situation staff are consistently being used to support the Mayor's position. When that fails she uses outside legal consultants. to justify decisions difficult to defend. .


Anonymous said...

Are the 5 who voted against by-election the same band of Morris led idiots?

Anonymous said...

"Are the 5 who voted against by-election the same band of Morris led idiots?"