"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

Monday 31 August 2009

An Election is a Celebration

of the rights, privileges and responsibilities we enjoy as citizens of this beautiful country.

It's a positive event. It's about choosing people. Not about rejecting them. A candidate cannot be defeated. A candidate must be elected.

It's why a sense of what a candidate is about is all important. Elections are different at the municipal level. Better. A member of council has the opportunity to exercise independent judgement and is personally accountable for the vote he or she casts .A citizen has the right to influence the vote.

An incumbent has an edge because of experience and familiarity. It can be about popularity but only if it's earned. It can be about respect but that too must be earned.

A candidate must make his or her intentions known sooner rather than later. Time is of the essence. There's never enough.

Those who vote, don't do so lightly.Whatever the reasons for their choice, it's theirs to make. Choosing eight names out of twenty is not simple. Choosing one or two is and it's always an option.

When a voter picks one or two with the opportunity to choose eight names that's an opportunity lost. A ballot marked randomly is equally squandered.

A friendly, respectful face at the door or a voice on the phone can make the difference.

Nothing is appreciated more than a personal request for support. It's a mark of respect. Do not ask for a declaration. Voters are jealous of their right to a secret ballot. If they want to talk ...listen. You need to know what people are thinking .

Even if people have no intention of voting, they are civil when approached. Keep in mind, they are not sitting in their homes waiting for a knock on the door or a phone call. Don't impose. If they give you time, tell them about yourself and what you think. It must be relevant.

They want to know your perception of issues . They want to hear your ideas for solutions. They want to form an impression of who you are.You owe it when you ask for their vote

A candidate must be prepared to make an investment in time and resources. People expect it.
Money isn't enough. Mostly it's time. Time to pay attention to the town's affairs and to show awareness. Time to seek out details and propose credible solutions.

People don't expect new candidates to have experience. But serious effort is expected .They allow time to learn. A chosen candidate is an investment in hope and trust. Interest is keen and constant. Scores are kept.

Signs of growth encourages the voter to believe in their own judgement. No visibility is curious and disappointing. Bluff and bluster without substance are not appreciated.

Never....never.... underestimate the attention or political intuition of the average citizen.

Arrogant abuse of delegated power, if broadly perceived, generates a powerful sense of betrayal and distrust. There are consequences.

The circle closes. And another election is held.

Sunday 30 August 2009


One of my correspondents has asked questions I cannot answer. I do not know the answers. I have not asked. It is not my business.

If I did know, I would not provide them. It's about employees' right to privacy.

Ironically, so much harm has been done that cannot be talked about. Disclosure would create even more harm for the individuals concerned.


I spent four hours writing a Blog about what I know about elections.

My computer cut out and I lost it.

I don't have another four hours of today to do it all over again.

It will just have to wait until to-morrow.

An Answer

We have seen a number of emergency meetings called by the Mayor during this term. In my judgement, the decision of the Director of Corporate Services to leave her post within three short weeks was an extraordinary circumstance. Completely untypical.

When our former Director, Bob Panizza decide to retire at the optimum time for him, he gave the town nine months notice. Ample to find a replacement and have that person in place with sufficient time to allow for smooth transition.

That did not happen. Our new and now departing Director had one week with Mr. Panizza prior to his leave-taking.

Mr. Panizza's long term Deputy, Karen Ewart took her leave from the town very recently. The current deputy has relatively limited hands-on experience and has been absent since the fracas of the Integrity Commissioner's decision being placed in her hands as Acting- Clerk

With three short weeks notice, we are without a Clerk or a logical successor to take her place.

That's an emergency.

Council has not been consulted.

I don't think that's right. But it is the pattern of the Morris/MacEachern administration

Saturday 29 August 2009

That Was a Week that Was.

Just because nothing appeared in this space didn't mean I wasn't occupied in front of the computer.

There's not much noise emanating from the Town Hall these days. .

The Chief Administrative Officer has informed Council he is appointing an Acting-Clerk to take the Clerk's place when she retreats from the scene on August 31st.That's Monday.

I called the CAO to inquire who the "Acting-Clerk" might be.

This is where keeping you informed as is your right becomes enmeshed in the right to privacy of an employee.

The Town Solicitor will be Acting-Clerk.

Municipal employees are entitled to the same degree of privacy as any others. Even more I think because they are public servants in a small town where they may very well reside...with spouses and children as part of the community.

Still, you are entitled to know about town affairs. But...I must be meticulous.

I have had no conversation with the Clerk since announcement of her retirement. I would not expect disclosure of anything to indicate conflict. Nor would I ask.

Understanding the role of Clerk, I am not surprised the situation became untenable. It has for others.

I have referred before in this space to the Clerk's responsibility to advise council in upholding Bylaws and Provincial Statutes. There are other legal responsibilities as well.

Knowledge, competence and the strength that comes from confidence are all skills needed to keep a council working within the law without a hint of interference from staff in the political process.

Traditionally, the Clerk is seated at the elbow of the presiding member to allow for discreet intervention when necessary. No person can participate in debate without recognition from the Chair. If council debate shows sign of going off the rails, opportunity for subtle input must be available.

Credentials of a Clerk are certified by successful completion of a recognized course of study provided by Queen's University in Kingston.

Until this term, I have never had to consider the many and varied skills of the job. I have never known a Council that failed to acknowledge the Clerk's legal responsibilities and essential advisory role.

So now where are we?

The Clerk returned from two weeks vacation in the second week of August. The day after Council were notified of her pending "retirement" on August 31st.

The previous week, the Deputy-Clerk left the town hall and has not returned since. A series of happenings had taken place.

In reply to an inquiry from Councillor McRoberts, the Deputy-Clerk responded the Integrity Commissioner's decision had been copied on pink paper, placed in plain brown envelopes in each Councillors' box in a secure room.

Twenty minutes later, that advice was" re-called " The envelopes were retrieved from the boxes and the decision was no longer available.

The following day, I attended the Town Hall and requested to speak to the Deputy-Clerk. I had requested the decision be provided the day before without success. I received an e-mail under the Deputy's hand informing me "the decision" would be available at the "Special" meeting called by the Mayor.

The Deputy was in the office when I came to the Town Hall. We did not meet.

Instead, the town solicitor moved back and forth between his office and the Mayor's and finally emerged to inform me, the determination had been made by himself as Acting Chief Administrative Officer that since the Deputy had not been appointed Acting-Clerk by Council, there was no authority to release the document to myself.

Announcement was made of "stripping the director of his powers" following the Mayor's "Special" meeting.

On Monday, the Clerk returned to her office, the Director's decision was provided to me in accordance with the authority that was his to make and the Clerk's responsibility to follow.

On the following day, announcement of the Clerk's "retirement" was circulated.

Despite three week's notice, no recruitment to fill the vacancy commenced. No "Special" meeting of council was called to deal with the emergency.

Despite several month's notice from former Chief Financial Officer.no recruitment took place then either. Notice was given on Jan.5th to take place on April 15th. In an in-camera meeting , in early April, Council were informed a Chief Financial Officer an "Interim" contract of twelve months had been provided with hopeful anticipation the appointment would become permanent.

Despite that such an appointment is made by Bylaw and can only be approved by Council, no previous information was provided, no approval was sought from Council prior to the appointment being made.

Not even behind closed doors.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

All Roads Engineers Should

Be required to spend at least a month relying on a chair on wheels for mobility in order to qualify as road and pavement designers.

If you haven't done it, you have no idea.

I can walk but not comfortably, gracefully or far. I can get about in the house.. Even do some gardening on a bench. I have to make sure the bench is strategically placed so that, in a tilt, I will come to no harm.

Earlier in the summer. I was attacking deep-rooted weeds with a long handled cultivator. Back I went into the cedar hedge. My daughter responded to my harrumph. She laughed. You look like Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz with your hands dangling over the handles she said.
While she laughed, I got myself out.

It's forty years since I visited Montreal. They were peeling asphalt off the cobblestones. How nice, I thought. How authentic! It was like a trip back in time . Like the small stores and tall houses steps up from the sidewalks in St. John's Newfoundland.

Last week my sentiments were different. Cobblestones are a rough ride. Steeply sloping streets and sidewalks are disconcerting. Still the scooter gave me mobility I have not enjoyed for twenty years. I loved it.

Modern Montreal streets have lanes for bicycles, roller blades and skateboards.In Ottawa. the bicycle reigns supreme.In Aurora, we need lanes for bicycles, roller blades, skateboards and mobility scooters.

I saw many people in both cities walking with obvious discomfort, in the heat, who would have benefited from wheels beneath them.

Most definitely design of streets and sidewalks need to be re-thought.

Montreal has bicycles to rent. All over the city, they sit in racks, with meters to release and rent them. You can take in one location ,leave in another and use for only part of an hour.

If a bone rattling experience is what turns you on ,Old Montreal has the best.

Slopes and inclines are reminiscent of Glasgow .The instinct when crossing is to lean away from the slope. I was never confident it was the right move but I got back in one piece .

The city's flag has four M's and floral emblems: Fleur De Lis, Rose, Thistle and a Shamrock.We took a three hour bus tour. The driver was our guide and proud of his city's heritage. There's no better way to get the sense of a place.

We spent a couple of hours in the Ramezay House, absorbing the feeling of life in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds in "the finest" house ever built. Steps are the entry but they had an aluminum ramp to put in place and inside was completely accessible.

We were at the Holiday Inn in the Chinese quarter. The city has more than four. All with distinct identities. I think next time we'll try Italian.

Sunday 23 August 2009

I'm Back

I rented a Go-Go scooter and went. The scooter went into the car trunk in four pieces. It's not a big machine. I felt like a Shriner in a Parade but it got me to and fro and round about the Capital in capital form. I stayed at the Marriott .The conference was at the Westin. That meant I tootled up Spark Street and over the hill in front of the Parliament Buildings every morning on my way to work (so-to-speak)

On Wednesday, the last day, I wound my way on the paths in the garden behind the Parliament Buildings .It was a lovely fresh morning and the crowds had already gathered. I've never been inside the buildings. There never seems to be enough time.

Before I left home I contemplated buying a lap-top to provide a running commentary on the conference. I sought a particular model with a price in mind. But the variety overwhelmed me and prices were significant too. Discretion became the better part of valour and decided nothing should be done in a hurry.

There's always something to learn at conferences. I attended workshops. Listened to a number of speeches. Spoke to a few delegates. Saw two former Aurora CAO's and one current
I added up how many we have had altogether. Four were not there. That adds up to seven since the position was first created more than twenty years ago.

Scott Somerville, an interim in the post, told me CAO's tend not to stay more than four or five years. According to our experience then, that's about right.

Scott was appointed when a former CAO left on a month's notice. We were in the process of amalgamating Hydro with Newmarket. We needed someone with proven experience and Scott had that.He had been with Vaughan when Markham and Vaughan amalgamated and bought out Richmond Hill.

We were also not being successful in filling the CAO's position for mostly political reasons. We "invited" someone to leave a position and join our administration. He had not applied. He agreed after more or less writing his own contract.

The contract was for five years with a protection clause if the arrangement went sour. It did.

There are 444 municipalities in Ontario and 444 municipal clerks and deputy clerks.

Around twenty-five per cent have CAO's. When the CAO is absent, the Clerk is appointed Acting CAO.

But when the Clerk is absent, the Deputy-Clerk is the Acting-Clerk. The Clerk can do the CAO's job. The CAO cannot do the Clerk's job.

I was hoping to find someone at the conference who had experience with a Code of Conduct. No luck. With about 6 municipalities out of 444 having such an instrument, it wasn't surprising.

Toronto is not an Association member. They were always threatening to pull out. Membership dues are based on population.Their dues were a large percentage of Association resources. They figured they should have matching clout. It seems they finally made good on their threat and cancelled their membership. The Association has survived and provides a worth-while program.

It's not the same without Toronto though. There's a dynamism missing. They should come back.

Even if it's just so the rest of us can keep track of what they are up to. Outside Toronto, we need to know we are getting our fair share.

I'm not saying "equal". Just that it should be proportionately fair.

Tootling around on a scooter gave a pretty good sense of the state of things in the National Capital.Last time I was there everything was spic and span. Not so any more. I'm probably examining with a critical eye but roads and sidewalks are not in good shape. Weeds are sprouting in the most unlikely places.

I remember when Spark Street was converted to the first Pedestrian Mall. Tiles and interlocking stone were used. I have no idea when it was last re-done but I am under- impressed with the condition.

The drop in the sidewalks for the disabled looks like it was broken off with a hammer and chisel
I am not criticising. It's a sign of great burdens, tremendous wear and tear and a lack of maintenance resources.

I don't know nuthin' about their tax rates.

Toronto's infrastructure is shabby as well. Their average taxes are a thousand dollars less than our average. It just doesn't make sense not to protect infrastructure investment.

But Toronto has a Code of Conduct with runaway costs and Councillors who use it to clobber each other.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

A Note from Heather

Evelyn is busy at the AMO Conference this week - with little access to email. Comments are piling up - but I know she'll check them all out when she returns.

Sunday 16 August 2009

For The Record

The Mayor has been making comments about the Decision of the Integrity Commissioner. A statement is promised concurrently with its publication.

On Friday at Five, a phone call was received from the Director of Corporate Services informing Councillors McRoberts and Collins Mrakas they would not receive a copy of the decision because their names were not on the complaint. Of course they were. It was their signatures that were absent.

Mine wasn't there either. But my contention is confirmed that the complaint was filed by six individuals who used town resources to pay for everything. .

Some would call that misappropriation .... or at the very least , abuse of public resources.

There's a clause against that in the Code of Conduct.

Isn't that ridiculous ? As if anybody would be silly enough to think it's alright to use public funds for nefarious purpose and need a Code to spell it out for them.

I won't be filing a complaint though when we get our new Integrity Commissioner. That would be inappropriate use of public funds , don't you think. I'm not big on spending taxpayers' money on stuff that benefits least of all the people who are paying for it.

I am however going to publish the Integrity Commissioner's one and only decision. He managed to get it in before the portcullis came down so all his effort wasn't wasted. We got what we paid for as well and that was a good thing....right.

I have to provide it to the two Councillors who are entitled to have it so I might as well let everyone else have a sneak preview as well. It might help to understand the purpose of the Mayor's statement which is to be presented with the decision. The lawyer will probably write that ... the Mayor's statement that is.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Regrets....I have a few

Thirty years of one's life in a professional career is a substantial investment.It would have been no small thing for the Town's Director of Corporate Services to quit like that.

We should not expect an explanation .

Ontario municipalities are a family.

If a there's a problem in one community, the word goes out. Has anyone else had the problem? . How was it handled. Did it work?

If a member of staff finds him or herself in personality conflict with a politician, the only option is to leave. Public conflict with a politician is not an asset in a resume. It doesn't matter a hill of beans who was at fault.

The same principle applies to the political body. A toxic reputation as an employer quickly spreads. Nobody with qualifications and a secure job will knowingly give it up to join such an organisation
The four year term of office for municipalities has exacerbated the situation.

Does it make me proud ... absolutely not. Ignorance combined with arrogance is a devastating and destructive combination. In all her history, Aurora has never had that stigma attached.

David Nitkin, as has been noted, has a world -wide reputation in the field he practices. It's not a way of earning a living. He is committed to do what one man can, to make the world a better place.

His mission is to teach people a way to work together to be effective for the community we serve. He made that clear to anyone who was listening in the council meeting he attended.

It took eight months for a contract to be signed.The complainants discovered immediately it was put into effect, it did not suit their purpose.

I doubt the story will end here.

It's not good for the municipality. But other than a total waste of public resources, it has no impact on the lives of residents.

But for the individuals who have been harmed along the way and cannot speak in their own defence, it has been catastrophic.

Friday 14 August 2009

Grist For The Mill

Here's what I know to date. Deputy-Mayor Bob McRoberts and Councillor Alison Collins- Mrakas have not received their copy of the one and only decision.

Bob has e-mailed the Director of Corporate Services inquiring when he might receive it.The Councillor is an extremely courteous, thoughtful and temperate individual.There has been no response.

The Director has resigned. with a month's notice. In not responding to Bob's query she is either, not at the Town Hall , she is refusing to participate in the political melee or they've tied her up and stuffed her into a broom closet

I'll write a Blog about the reality of being a municipal public servant one of these days. In the best of circumstances , it is not like any other job.

Following the trail of the decision; it was forwarded to the office of the Director of Corporate Services . The Director was on vacation. The Deputy-clerk acts in the absence of the clerk. The Statute requires a municipality must appoint a clerk and a Deputy both with certification. Why? things like marriage licences and death certificates have to be issued and Commissioner of Oath services and stuff like that. You know...public records and stuff.

A Town Hall cannot operate without the Town Clerk or a Deputy. You can do without a CAO. You can do without a lawyer in the house.

You can't function without a Town Clerk or a Deputy Clerk.

The Deputy had copied the decision on pink paper, inserted it into plain brown envelopes, marked them confidential , placed one in each councillor's box in the councillors' room and sent e-mails informing councillors, they were there.

Twenty minutes later the e-mail was recalled and the envelopes were gathered back up.

It seems Mr. Cooper, town solicitor, who has no role in the matter, ordered them to be recovered.

He directly informed me later, after extensive consultation with the Mayor,that the Deputy-clerk had not been appointed Acting Clerk by Council. He on the other hand, had been appointed Acting C.A.O. and it was his decision the Deputy Clerk did not have authority in the matter of distributing the Integrity Commissioner's decision.

Therefore ...

So I waited. The Director of Corporate Services (Town Clerk)returned the following Monday. I went to the Town Hall with a CBC reporter and cameraman. After a couple of hours , I received the document it was always my right to receive.

Still neither Deputy Mayor McRoberts nor Councillor Collins Mrakas have received theirs.
Councillor MacEachern sent an e-mail informing ,they were not entitled because hey did not sign the complaint,she said.

Councillor Granger has suddenly come out of his shell, big brave fellow that he is, and started a stream of abusive e-mails to Allison. Knowing the Councillor's peculiar facility with words the authorship is suspect.

I am reminded of the account of how he threatened a little girl on a bicycle cart selling ice cream. in the street around the town park. He reduced her to tears...big brave gladiator that he is.

But back to the plot, the Integrity Commissioner directed the Clerk, the decisions were to be forwarded to eight councillors and moi.

I read verbatim to reporters , the actual decision made by the Commish. The CBC reporter was at my elbow when I opened the envelope, please. What I read was not as stated by the Mayor to the press later, "a selected excerpt"

It seems the complainants quickly became aware there is more to the business of filing a complaint than previously realised. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on a lawyer to ferret out material and write it for them , wasn't enough.

I kept telling them the process cuts both ways. But they wouldn't listen.Oh Dear me.. .No. They had their eye on the ball.

Well whit kin ye dae. ..these young yins...ye canny tell them onything...even fur thir ain benefit

Even before the Commissioner set up the first one,Councillor Alison had advised of the need for training. Councillor MacEachern declared emphatically she had no intention of attending any training. The Code of Conduct had only one purpose in her mind. She repeated her adamant opposition when the Commissioner set up two educational workshops for council.

If they had attended , they might have learned something but there's no guarantee. Three of them didn't attend the first one; the Mayor and Councillors MacEachern and Gallo. The second one was not permitted.

Had they met with the Commish when he requested a meeting to rate damage caused by my comments, which is the informal process to attempt to resolve differences, they might have become more proficient in their effort or understood it wasn't going to fly.

Instead, I believe, when they discovered their triumphant denouement of moi had the potential to backfire,they made hasty plans and announced a special meeting before the decision could be forwarded and distributed.

The decison came through first . So they tried to bury it.

Then the Director of Corporate Services returned from vacation and did what the rules required.

Picture the Adventures of Sylvester the Cat and Tweetie Pie. at this juncture.

Then they had their meeting and stripped the Integrity Commissioner of his "powers" It took almost six hours to figure out how to break the news.

The latest strategy is for the Mayor to declare the matter still in abeyance until a new Director of Integrity is appointed. Councillor Buck is only giving out "selective" parts of the decision. The Councillor was not "exonerated"

That's because their accusations didn't stick. They were held to be "wholly political"

One Councillor said the wrong person was appointed as Commissioner. It should have been a lawyer. I'll bet they have one in mind.

In the meantime, the Director of Corporate Services suddenly exhibited , after providing me with a document it was my right to receive, a preference for retirement.

The Mayor says, it's "outrageous"to suggest anything different.

A Council meeting for August 11th was cancelled without explanation. That would have been the first meeting after receipt of the decision at which the document was required to be made public.

The Mayor has announced it will be made public at the next Meeting in September and it will be accompanied by a "statement"

.Damned if I know what the statement will state. I'm just a Councillor after all.

Thursday 13 August 2009

A Clarification.

In the flurry of comments, answers to questions and the normal to and fro interaction with the media when there's a news story on hand, an impression may have been conveyed that I received a confidential document directly from the Town's Integrity Commissioner. It is a mis-statement.

It is my responsibility to correct it.

The Integrity Commissioner's Report was provided to me through the Office of the Director of Corporate Services as required by Provincial Statute and the Town's Code of Conduct and witnessed by the CBC reporter and cameraman who accompanied me to the Town Hall and waited for several hours , on my second attempt to obtain what was rightfully mine.

Considering I had previously been unable to wrest it from their fevered grip , I came to the brilliant conclusion all by myself, the decision had not found favour with Mighty Mayor and I freely speculated as to that likelihood.

Well yes, I think I can be excused for taking a modicum of pleasure in the outcome of their endeavour

Frankly....I chortled.

The Aura of Aurora

Is being besmirched except that the community has few illusions about the last two and a half years of our political affairs.

Still some things are sufficiently convoluted to make their meaning less than clear.

The Mayor's quote in a Star story this morning is a classic example.

The minutes of an infamous meeting when an individual made a series of false accusations against a member of council, courtesy of the Mayor, when presented to the May 26th meeting for approval were not a true record .

They were challenged by Councillor Collins Mrakas. A resolution was put forward for the minutes to be reviewed. Mayor Morris directed the CAO to respond to the Councillor's concern.

Chief Administrative Officer Neil Garbe stated he and Mr. Cooper , town solicitor had met for an hour to discuss how to handle the minutes. With the resultant vote, the Mayor declared the Councillor's motion defeated.

It all sound so rational.

Except it's not. The Municipal Clerk is legally responsible for maintaining public records.There is no room for discussion about how Council decisions will be recorded. The record is the record.

A motion was presented to permit fallacious accusations against a Councillor to be part of the public record.

On a point of order, the requirement to waive rules of procedure to allow that to happen was noted.

The mayor entertained a vote to waive the rules.Approval was declared.

On a further point of order, it was noted the motion requires two-thirds majority. Five votes to three do not two-thirds make.

The mayor ruled it did.

The subsequent minutes bore no record of the wild and reckless allegations made by a member of a town sub-committee who has as yet failed to provide a public accounting of funds raised by public solicitation, under the auspices of the municipality. for a public event.

Council's direction to include the party's accusations in the public record was not followed.

No prompting by the mayor, no conferencing between Senior Staff changes the fact, the public record of the May 12th meeting are not accurate.

A decison was made in full view of the public at large, courtesy of Rogers Cable T.V. and not followed through.

I attribute the fiasco to combined inexperience of the CAO and town solicitor. It was a clear and astounding demonstration of a failure to understand the significance of the role of the Municipal Clerk and the requirement to defer to the statutory responsibilities of that office.

It is a criminal offence to mess with public records.

Every meeting of Aurora Council is pre-orchestrated. Staff are briefed beforehand as to questions the Mayor will ask and answers they will provide. Directors' report are vetted before
presentation to Council and changed if the Mayor so orders.

If Staff read the Star story this morning about how responsibility for "vouching" the minutes became theirs, they will undoubtedly better understand, if they have not so far, their true role in the Mor-Mac administration.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Hullo Alyson Gloin

How nice to hear from you. The last time I saw you, you were a shy little girl in Grade School.
Now you are sending me a message of support from yourself, your father and your late mother.
Bless your heart darlin', your thoughtfulness is much appreciated.

I have seen your brother Doug's byline occasionally . And didn't your sister Chris follow in your father's footsteps into journalism.

But what are you doing and your little sister?? I see your Dad around town now and then.

Send me your e-mail address and bring me up-to-date.There are lots of people in town who would love to hear
All the best.

Another Thought

When I received my copy of Mr. Nitkin's decision in the office of the Director of Corporate Services on Monday, the document had had to be copied and a page prepared for signature of receipt. There was a wait but no sign of reluctance.

The atmosphere was congenial and professional. Miss King looked glowing and refreshed from her vacation and in good spirits.There was obviously no doubt as to her responsibility to provide the documentation to those referred in the regulation and Mr. Nitkin's decision.

I have subsequently learned Councillors McRoberts and Collins Mrakas have not been provided with their copies.

The Mayor has informed them they are not entitled.

The authority and responsibility to forward Mr.Nitkin's decision rests with The Director of Corporate Services.

It is not within the authority of the Mayor.

Two Councillors being refused a document to which they are legally entitled, would not have been a decision of the Director of Corporate Services.

It would more likely have been an order which she was not prepared to accept.

Notice of her resignation was circulated the following day.

News Flash

The Director of Corporate Services has decided to retire. She will leave her office at the end of this month

The Chief Administrative Officer informed Council by e-mail yesterday and asked it be kept confidential to "allow Lucille to inform her staff."

A Toronto Star reporter called me this morning to ask for my thoughts on the matter. I told him what I was told; the Director had decided to retire.

But he persisted. Reporters are like that.

"Why do you think she wants to retire" he asked .

"You will have to ask the lady " I said.

"Do you have anything to say about it" he said.

"They wouldn't let her do her job" I said. "She was at risk"

"What do you mean" he said.

"The Clerk is a Statutory Officer" I said. " She is legally responsible for upholding Provincial Statutes. That is her area of expertise. She is the authority. She is liable of she fails in her duty.
She cannot use the excuse the Mayor or Councillor Evalina MacEachern or the Chief Administrative Officer or the Town Solicitor wouldn't let her " I said.

"Do you think that's why she quit" he said.

"Well" said I "if I carried that weight of responsibility and somebody was stopping me from upholding the law and putting me at risk I would have quit before now "

The interview ended.

Of course.... I don't have to.

As a Councillor, they can't make me quit and they can't shut me up. Even when they get a lawyer to write it and adopt a Code of Conduct, appoint an Integrity Commissioner ,get a lawyer to write a phony complaint against me, file it with the Integrity Commissioner, get shot down and fire the Integrity Commissioner.They can't make me quit.

All they did was prod me with a pointy stick and create another unholy mess for themselves.

Hallelujah...I cry

Tuesday 11 August 2009

I said the decision was received on August 5th. That's is when I received an e-mail notifying me of the fact. The Deputy- Clerk had been acting clerk for a week and a half before the e-mail was received.

Sorry for the confusion,

Did I jump to the conclusion that Complaints in "double digits' were directed against myself.
Maybe. Sorry about that too.

The Commissioner had said he would answer queries from residents about the process. Maybe he gave file numbers to all the contacts he has received.

It has been a hectic couple of days. I'll take the time to-morrow to check the comments and see if there's anything else that needs to be clarified.

Hopefully we'll get the address straightened out as well.

Bear with me

Answer to Robert The Bruce

Mr. Nitkin highlighted the words I capitalized. I don't know how to highlight specific words so I capitalized.

The Code of Conduct has rules. The Mayor and Friends and legal Counsel appear to feel no compunction about picking and choosing which they will observe and which they will not. I think that puts the rules into question. . For me at least.

Mr. Nitkin, on the other hand, is fastidious in his application of the rules including those of secrecy and confidentiality. He will not likely defend himself against the criticism levelled against him.

Wording from the Council Resolution from August 6th indicates beyond question " despite efforts to persuade the Commissioner", there was a determined effort to interfere with the process and obtain the decision they desired.

Imagine that an individual whose entire professional reputation is about ethics and integrity, having the misfortune to sign a contract with Mayor Morris and her consistent majority.

The story is not over yet.


On two full pages. Leading to the decision are five whereases. A six bullet explanation follows.
The decision itself occupies nine and a half lines of type.

It reads:


It is the DECISION of my office that this statement of complaint, as is, is unacceptable and that as is, no investigation or inquiry shall take place. The complaint is ILL-FORMED in that some of its enumerated signatories have refused to sign and have indeed repudiated the use of their names. It is INCOMPLETE in that the impacts of its allegations upon the behaviour, duties, and/or reputation of councillors(or the organization) themselves is absent. Query oo8 is INAPPROPRIATE that the way it was crafted, politicized and communicated, may be, and be seen to be, wholly political.Explanation of this last test point can be seen in the many tests or measures of political interference that were raised in my e-mail of July 30th in direct communication to the proponents.

The decision was made on the 5th of August. It was in the hands of the Deputy Clerk, Acting clerk for the previous week and a half, on that date.

The process required it be provided by that officer to the complainants and to the councillor whose conduct was of concern.

Despite a visit to the town hall, the decision was not provided to the Councillor whose conduct was said to be of concern. It was refused. By the Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Town Solicitor Christopher Cooper, after no less than two consultations with the Mayor.

The Mayor later stated on camera it was intended the public would receive the decision at the same time.

That was not a decision for the Mayor to make.

The "Special" meeting ,called before notice the decision had been made and forwarded to the appropriate official , was held on Thursday August 6th.

Reference in the decision is made to a communication made to the proponents on July 30th.
to "the many tests and measures of degree of political interference"

Reference in the resolution on Aug 6th, adopted by the proponents to the complaint, is made to "repeated efforts to persuade the Commissioner "

Clearly, there was interference in the Commissioner's powers and authority prior to the decision and prior to the meeting at which the six proponents' of the complaint decided .to 'strip the powers and authority" of the Town's recently contracted Integrity Commissioner.

From its beginning, this Blog has provided factual information to readers. If I make a mistake, I correct it. If I indulge myself in personal criticism of a colleague, I withdraw it.

The Blog provides my thoughts on everything I write about.

It tells no-one what to think. It provides raw material, told with my particular bent and invites readers to form their own conclusions.

I ask nothing more.

In a free, civilized , robust community, what more can be asked.

We have it all.

All we need, is to determine how to use it.

Monday 10 August 2009

It's Been a Long Day

But there are a couple of things I need to do before I go to bed.

My e-mail address has been funky. I haven't been getting comments to my posts. . So if you sent one in and it didn't appear, that's the explanation I think we have it fixed now.

The Integrity Commissioner decided on the complaint filed by the Mayor and five councillors. It was not accepted.

The Mayor has publicly stated the decision to remove the Powers of the Commissioner was made prior to the decision being known.

In a Pig's Ear.

To-nights news story on the CBC about the Commish, his first decision and the removal of his powers, was really well done. Imagine having to get a sense of what a story is all about when it's been going on for five and a half years.

The only snag was the final comment that one of my options is to sue the town. THAT IS NOT AN OPTION. I have asked for a correction but I don't know if the editors will see it as significant as I do.

I'm part of the town. I don't plan to sue myself. I don't plan to play tit-for-tat with the Code of Conduct complaint process either. I will fight my political battles where they are meant to be fought ...in the political arena.

Sunday 9 August 2009

The Plot Thickens

And the pot boils over.

A revealing comment has been posted on the Aurora Citizen Blog.

Anonymous suggests complaints in the double digits have been filed against myself with the Town's Integrity Commissioner.

remember the process. It calls for complaints to be channelled to the Commissioner through the Director of Corporate Services. The Provincial Statute 223.5 (I think) unequivocally requires secrecy in the process. As well as confidentiality in the Town's Bylaw.

The Director of Corporate Services (Municipal Clerk)is the responsible authority at the municipal level for upholding provincial statutes. It is why that official is sworn and the appointment is made by bylaw. It is the meaning of the term Statutory Officer.

I keep repeating that but it doesn't seem to get through.

The Chief Building Official is responsible for upholding the National Building Code and other regulations pertaining to building

The Planning Director is responsible for upholding the Planning Act and Regulations and the Chief Financial Officer is responsible for adhering to provincial regulations in the area of municipal finances.

There are no ifs and or buts.These are not empty titles. If they were, provincial authority over municipalities would be a sham.

And that is not the case.

There have been precedents, usually in elections, when municipal clerks ,who are also Election Officers, have been prosecuted for failing to fulfill their legal responsibilities.

The anonymous comment raises the question; if true, how did that information become known?

Only the clerk or acting clerk of the municipality receives complaints.Her authority is limited to receiving and forwarding to the Integrity Commissioner.

The purpose is to maintain physical separation and independence of the Integrity Commissioner's Office from the Corporation and the political body.

How else would the privacy of the complainant and the complained about be protected?

How else would the Integrity Commissioner go about his due diligence without tampering or interference?

How else would the independence needed to perform the quasi-judicial function of rendering a fair and impartial judgement be guaranteed?

I know of one other complaint filed against me. The Commissioner informed me. As part of the process.

He spent almost two hours on my deck one lovely sunny afternoon, in an effort to convince me of the merits of participating in the process.

A person's reputation as an elected official is as valuable as any complaint he might receive, he assured me. If I did not participate, the only evidence before him would be the accusation against me.

He left without my commitment. But he spared no effort to ensure my complete understanding of the process and assure me of his own integrity.

Now we have evidence; laws requiring secrecy and confidentiality and the Integrity of an Integrity Commissioner are not enough.

Information appears to have been revealed from the only possible source. The Aurora Town Hall. Where I was refused, on camera, by the town solicitor, after double consultation with the Mayor, access to a decision which was my right to receive.

Logic dictates the complaint of six members of council, compiled by a lawyer at taxpayers' expense, and publicised world wide, had to be dismissed. In their eagerness to do all harm possible and tie the hands of the Commissioner, our brave warrior Councillors simply shat upon their own doorstep, trampled joyfully through it and made sure no clean spot remained.

No trace of good faith, a favourite phrase of David Nitkin, was ever evident in any degree which would possibly have allowed that complaint to be accepted.

And it doesn't take the Wisdom of Solomon to understand why.

Saturday 8 August 2009

SometimesYou Have To Step Back

To see the whole picture.

In 2007 the Mayor met George Rust D'Eye, a former municipal solicitor. at a conference. Mr. Rust D'Eye apparently advised he could advise council how to deal with a problem the Mayor had articulated. The Mayor brought the good word back to Council.

Mr Rust D"Eye's services were soon called upon, on the pretext of a leak from an in-camera meeting. The entire York Region Police Department knew Aurora had turned down the opportunity to have the Regional Police Headquarters built on land we had for sale. The Region offered the appraised value for the land. When word got into the press three months later, for the Mayor's purpose, a "leak" was assumed.

Mr. Rust D'Eye advised Council,in a lengthy legal report, A Code of Conduct would solve the problem of " leaks". The Mayor has informed Council and the community, he helped to write it. It was adopted by Council, with no obvious sign it had been read and despite the contention of Councillor Allison Collins Mrakas who has several Masters Degrees and is in fact a Manager of Ethics in an academic institution, that the Code as written was unenforceable. .

In November 2008, an Integrity Commissioner was appointed. Eight months later. on June 18th 2009 , a contract was finally agreed upon.

Before that however, Council retained another former municipal solicitor (they never retained George Rust D"Eye again) and assigned him the task of watching videos, reading Blogs and comments to Blogs to ferret out perceived offences against the Code, report his findings and document an iron-clad complaint to be submitted to the Integrity Commissioner as soon as the agreement was signed.

In the meantime, a "special" volunteer, much admired by the Mayor, exercised the privilege at public forum of a council meeting to heap unfounded and unsubtantiated accusations and allegations. on the head of the same member of the Town's Council who was eventually the object of Council's complaint to the Integrity Commissioner.

In March of 2009, public donations had been solicited in support of a public event by the Mayor's favourite appointed volunteer member of a sub-committee of an Advisory Committee of Council. No account was subsequently offered of proceeds of the fund-raising or their disposition. In fact , statements were made that proceeds had merely paid for a wing-ding party. Self-righteous outrage was expressed that a councillor would seek answers to the obvious question.

Where are the funds, publicly solicited under the auspices of the municipality and donated for a public event.?

Subsequently, the complaint of six members of council, prepared by the lawyer, accompanied by his twenty-three page legal report was filed with the Town's Integrity Commissioner.

But first it was publicised in every known venue at taxpayers' expense.

Within the body of the complaint, the solicitor states, in light of the potential penalty that the councillor's "remuneration might be suspended" represented a "pecuniary benefit" to said Councillor. By choosing to attend a secret meeting of the council of which she is a member, she is in a Conflict of Interest.

At no time apparently. did it occur to the parties that;

1. accusing a Councillor under a Code of Conduct containing clauses of their adaptation; 2.retaining counsel, as a Council to compile a list of perceived contraventions of the clauses; 3.filing a complaint with an Integrity Commissioner retained on a contract , written to suit their purpose;
might represent egregious contravention of every principle of fairness and ethical conduct.Let alone Conflict of Interest.

Weeks later. behind closed doors, with the town solicitor, they received the decision their complaint had not been accepted. In effect, it had been dismissed.

Consequently they removed all authority from the Commissioner immediately and severed his contract.

But not apparently without a prior meeting being held between the Commissioner, Town solicitor and the Mayor, in an attempt to persuade the Officer to see the error of his ways.

I think: a reading of the Code... according to Rust D'Eye... circa 2008 ... reveals a number of
ethical principles which were never intended to be anything more than hieroglyphics on a page.

Friday 7 August 2009

What didI tell you?

Just received an e-mail from the Mayor's office. A copy of the minutes from last night's "Special" meeting followed immediately.

It was called to order at 5.20p.m. They recessed into Closed Session at 5.53 pm. ,re-convened and reported out at 11.05 p.m. and adjourned at 11.12p.m.

When a council goes behind closed doors only those matters listed on the agenda can be discussed.

Councillors McRoberts and Collins Mrakas notified in considerable detail why they were not prepared to attend ; no reason was given for the meeting and no agenda was circulated. I also indicated I would not attend for all of the reasons cited by both colleagues.

Apparently an agenda was circulated. though not to myself, thirteen minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin.

The late agenda listed:

1. Code of Conduct Complaint
2. Matters related to an individual.

If the order was followed, the Code of Conduct Complaint was discussed and then a decision was made to remove all powers from the Integrity Commissioner and recruit a new one.

It took all those hours to figure out a way to tell you that.

Now do you believe me?

A Clash of Principles

I've been struggling with it for some time. On the one hand, municipal public servants have the same right to privacy as any other citizen. On the other we have experienced almost a complete turn over of senior staff under the Mor-Mac political regime.

The change happened in less than optimum circumstances. The community has a vital interest in the management of the corporation. Management is an important link in the day to day affairs of the community. They don't actually fix broken sewers or get down and dirty but their competence does have an impact on those who do.

In any major upheaval, people have a right to know things are proceeding as they should.. How would they learn in the normal course of events.?

There is only one conduit. Speaking for myself. it is me.

I have concerns.

Yesterday, at the town hall was an example:

I approached the reception desk on the second floor and was greeted with the usual cheerful welcoming smile of acknowledgement. I asked for Cindy Janzen.

Whether it is Cindy or Lucille , the Director, a message would ordinarily be relayed back . Whether they had to finish what they were doing or ... they would promptly appear. It's a courtesy to which I am accustomed.

The doors to the inner offices may or may not be locked. I've never tried them . As an elected member I observe the line between administrative and political. I do not have authority to invade their space any more than they can trespass in mine. I wait.

Contrary to her usual practice, Cindy did not appear.Neither did I receive the courtesy of a message.

Instead, after time, Mr. Cooper, our relatively new solicitor came from his office, and walked across the public area, past where I was seated, to the Mayor's office. Mr. Cooper is the Acting Chief Administrative Officer while Mr. Garbe is on vacation. He did not acknowledge my presence.

In at least seventy-five per cent of municipalities in Ontario, the town clerk heads the administration.It is not an optional position. Chief Administrative Officers on the other hand, are not that common

In our town, when the CAO is absent for any reason, the Director of Corporate Services formerly town clerk, and still with the same responsibilities, is the Acting C.A.O. The two would never be absent at the same time. For the past two weeks, they have been .

That's a change.Not an improvement.

Mr. Cooper walked past me. He had to to reach the Mayor's office. A steady stream of staff , going to and from and up and down from various offices passed through, Nary a one went by without a cheerful smile and polite acknowledgement of the Councillor in the waiting space. I wasn't hiding.

Cindy never did appear. Instead after a couple of consultations with the Mayor, Mr. Cooper presented himself. He first informed me cameras are not permitted in the town hall.

I allowed that to pass.

His next statement was that he, Christopher Cooper, is Acting Chief Administrative Officer in the absence of Mr. Garbe. I knew that. .

Ms Janzen ,he added has not been appointed Acting Director of Corporate Services therefore she does not have the authority to forward the decision of the Integrity Commissioner
to the parties entitled to receive it under the requirements of Provincial Statute and Town Legislation.

There is not a great deal to be gained from having an argument with an official in a public place. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, they say, whoever they are, and they had possession. My purpose was to gain possession of what is legally mine....Or not.... which in itself tells a story.

The facts are,town practice is for the deputy-clerk to be acting clerk when the clerk is not available. No other reason exists for the position of deputy to be sworn by bylaw. A clerk and deputy clerk must have certification which is acquired by successfully passing particular courses recognised by whatever body is responsible for accreditation.

Mr. Cooper ,once again, offered an opinion which is entirely unacceptable to me.

I would contend, the solicitor would be hard-pressed to validate his opinion with reference to town bylaws and past practice. Most municipalities do not have in house solicitors either. It is the Municipal clerk who is legally liable for upholding provincial statutes as well as municipal bylaws even in those municipalities which do. It is the meaning of "statutory officer".

Considering circumstances governed by what I regard as his erroneous opinion, the refusal to put forward the decision already made by the town's Integrity Commissioner, in the matter of a complaint prepared at great legal expense to the taxpayers against myself, the nature of which is the assertion that I have disrespected the professional competence of town directors, I do not believe I am obliged to maintain silence in this matter.

The Mayor's subsequent comment in the media broadcast, " it is intended the public should be made aware of the decision all at the same time" clearly indicates the decision has already been conveyed to the complainants. The decision as to when and to whom it will be forwarded, is not he Mayor's to make. Even a cursory glance at the satute and the bylaw makes that clear.

The statement made in the town hall, was clearly under the Mayor's orders with the solicitor's compliance. Acting as C.A.O. , has been withheld from the two Councillors who refused to sign and the Councillor who was the object of the complaint but made available to the complainants.

From my perspective, it is difficult to comprehend how any person, acting in a public capacity. can allow him or herself to be party to an arrangement which has neither the force of law, morality or ethics.

Confidence and trust are qualities which must be engendered and fostered.They may not be assumed.

Thursday 6 August 2009

And Frightend a Little Mouse under Her Chair

I went to the Town Hall this morning. Brianna, a lovely young woman reporter from Rogers Cable came along with her camera.

Yesterday, I received notification a decision on the much publicised complaint of a few weeks ago, has been made by the Integrity Commissioner. As procedure requires, it had been directed to the Director of Corporate Services to forward a copy to the Complainants and the Councillor whose "Conduct is of Concern" Moi.

I sent an e-mail to the Deputy-Clerk requesting my copy. It was not forthcoming. Instead I received an e-mail response. Three clauses of procedure were cited and I was informed a copy would be provided in a "Special" meeting called by the Mayor to be held behind closed doors.

The problem was, the clauses cited did not conform to the plans cited.

Procedure requires a copy of the decision will be forwarded to the parties. It will be presented at the "next council meeting". It does not mean "forwarded " at some arbitrary date or during a "special" meeting called by the Mayor to deal with the matter behind closed doors.

So, today, I went to the Town Hall to obtain my copy. I asked at reception to speak to the Deputy-clerk . She had received the communication from Mr.Nitkin. I thought therefore, it could reasonably be assumed she was Acting Director in the absence of the Director who would have received the communication if she were not on vacation. Well somebody had to receive such an important communication.

But that was yesterday. Today, I waited for the deputy-clerk to emerge from the inner sanctum. And I waited and waited and chatted to Brianna about the matter.

After a while, Mr. Cooper who is Town Solicitor and Acting Chief Administrative Officer emerged from his side of the sanctum and passed by without acknowledging moi on his way to the Mayor's Office.

He returned after a bit .... still with his head down and crossed behind the reception desk. I could see him through the glass. He visited with the deputy clerk.He emerged again and returned to the Mayor's office. Eventually, he came out once more and approached myself and Brianna.

"Cameras are not allowed in the Town Hall, Councillor Buck." he said.

"Is that right, Mr. Cooper " I said. "I hadn't heard that before"

Brianna and her camera stayed.

He informed me... "Ms Janzen, Deputy-Clerk has not been appointed Acting Director of Corporate Services , therefore she does not have the authority to provide you with a copy of the decision."

I smiled.

So ....I was being refused a copy of the decision to which I am entitled.

No matter.

It doesn't take an Einstein to figure ..

The complaint has not been accepted.... Ergo....it has been dismissed.

The flap is on.

A "Special" meeting has been called by the Mayor for five o'clock this evening. No agenda provided.No purpose stated.

At six o'clock Roger's Cable will broadcast the news. The complaint has been dismissed.

But the plan undoubtedly was ..... if they dis-credit the decision- maker, before the decision is known, they can not then be accused of dis-crediting the decision because it dis-credits the decision they made when they made the decision to dis-credit moi.

I never laid a finger on them.

They did it all themselves.

How sweet it is !

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Something is Stirring

But I can't give details. I received a private and confidential e-mail this morning. It appears I should have received formal notification of something previously but didn't.

The Mayor has called a "Special" meeting for Thursday evening at 5 . P.M. I was not informed. It's apparently about "an individual who could be identified " It generally means the Mayor is on the warpath and prepared to lynch somebody. Usually moi.

It seems stuff isn't being shared .

Why would that be, I wonder?

I had an interview with Brianna of Roger's Cable yesterday afternoon on my backyard deck..It was nice expounding my philosophy on politics to a young person willing to listen. It amounted to a very brief clip on the news .

It's always interesting to see which particular quote from the many has been selected. In this one I related how, in response to demands for apologies, retractions and a commitment to cease and desist, I had asked Councillor Wilson to provide me with a list of the "factually incorrect" statements as well specific examples of Breaches of the Code of Conduct deemed to have been perpetrated so that I could understand precisely why I am apologising.

As yet, no list has come forward..

Tuesday 4 August 2009

10 O'Clock and All's Quiet on the Integrity Front

It was a holiday .I expect nobody was doing much of anything. Mr. Nitkin may not be finding it particularly easy to deal with the much publicised complaint of the Gang of Six accompanied by an investigative report prepared and written by legal counsel, retained at taxpayer's expense.

It must be sort of like being a council member at a meeting with the Mayor presiding. The rules vary so , depending on whose ox is being gored, it can seem like there are no rules. Procedural Bylaw notwithstanding.

Section 223.5 ( 1) of the Municipal Act states :

Duty of Confidentiality----The Commissioner and every person acting under the instructions of the Commissioner shall preserve secrecy with respect to all matters that come to his or her knowledge in the course of his or her duties under this part.

Section 223.6 (1) Report to Council

If the Commissioner provides a periodic report to the municipality on his or her activities,the Commissioner may summarize advice he or she has given but shall not disclose confidential information that could identify a person concerned.

It's terribly tedious reading the Municipal Act or any Act for that matter. Still one must understand how the instrument is being interpreted and used. There must be consistency in application.

It's a relatively new Act and as noted before, only a handful of municipalities are using it. .
Since no appeal is provided it has not been tested in a Court of Law.

If a person's intention is to exercise authority under an Act, it's probably a good idea to have at least a sense of the limits of authority.

Otherwise, there's a chance one might fall afoul of the very Act one is using to accuse another of wrong-doing.

Harm can come to a person like that

I scanned Toronto's Code. The legislation came about after the scandal about millions of dollars over-run in the acquisition of computers . A financial officer was being wined , dined and bedded by an ambitious and especially energetic salesman.

A Councillor had money for luxurious items without an obvious source.

The computer over-run cost millions and the city spent millions on the Bellamy Inquiry which revealed the seedy conduct described above

One of the penalties in the City's Code, is for the villain of the piece to give back the money.

The intent of the Code is clearly to discourage corruption in all its forms.

Their Code doesn't say a word about Councillors being prohibited from talking about Council's decisions and being required toexplain to the community.the" attitude" that led to the decisions, even if said councillor disagrees with said decisions.

A City Ad Hoc Committee took months to create the Code. Despite all of their earnest endeavour, I hear it's not working too well. . Several reports have been presented from the Integrity Commissioner.

At first Councillors were allowed $5 k to defend themselves . Then it was reported, they were not using defence counsel and since there is no provision for appeal, that was not thought to be a good thing. The allowance for defence was upped to $20k.

The Commissioner's initial retainer was $104k. a year. Don't know what it's at now. But that didn't cover the salary of his administrative assistant and the work of investigating a complaint.

It is a very, very, expensive operation .

But that's not how we do it up here in Aurora. Oh Dear Me ....No..

We don't fool around with the rules the government writes or even the ones we write ourselves

We just jump into the mucky-ducky, splash about, have fun and make sure everybody gets splattered.

The night they proclaimed their legal investigation and complaint, their favourite volunteers were in the audience to enjoy the triumph. The Mayor and Councillor MacEachern joined them afterwards at 12,30a.m. Our Fearless leader was overheard to say:

"Now let's go and celebrate."

Saturday 1 August 2009

What Has Happened Since.

I haven't heard a dicky-bird. The Code of Conduct on the Town's Web site, outlines a process that outlines time lines following a complaint being received by the Integrity Commissioner.

All is quiet from my angle. Considering the tumult that went before ...the silence is weird.

On the other hand, the hurly-burly of politics is robust as usual in the Megalopolis to the south of us.

Mayor Miller says the councillors who are speaking against the settlement with the union are
"disgraceful" His opponents are equally forceful in their opinions about the settlement and the Mayor's and Top Honcho Penachetti's role in the matter.

It's unlikely complaints to the City's Integrity Commissioner will result from either side of the issue. Their Code does not hold political discourse to be illegal..

The Honorable Member of The Legislature for our Riding. Mr. Frank Klees' name has been brought into the discussion. Mr. Klees recently presented a private member's amendment to the legislature to remove restrictions on the right of free speech in Human Rights legislation.

Someone might bring the Honorable member's attention to Provincial Legislation which permits a Code of Conduct for any Municipality which choses to adopt.

The legislation is odd.

It allows a municipality to adopt a Code if it sees fit. It allows individual wording of a Code. Only a handful of municipalities have and there appears to be little uniformity in wording, And strangest of all ,since an elected person cannot be charged with an offence, there is provision for penalties but no avenue for appeal.

The upshot is, if I were a councillor in Richmond Hill or Newmarket or ninety-nine per cent of the Province of Ontario, there would be no video voyeurism of council meetings or analysing of personal blogs or interpretion of a councillor's public comments, by a lawyer. retained by the Mayor and a group of compliant councillors at taxpayers expense.

There would be no Integrity Commissioner to receive and investigate complaints from
the same group of councillors, who took the precaution of having their own private investigation by a lawyer. and widely publicising the same, before handing said complaint, composed by said lawyer. to the Integrity Commissioner to investigate and rule upon.....all at taxpayers' expense.

You know, just because lawyers have written legislation on the direction of the provincial government, and another has privately investigated an Elected Member of Aurora Council on direction of some members of Council and submitted to the Council, a personal judgment on the councillor's conduct and advised said council they are within the ambit of Provincial legislation and their own adopted Code of Conduct to publicise his professionally prepared complaint at public expense, in every avenue possible....just because of all of that... that doesn't make any of it right.