"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

Saturday 23 April 2011

The Elaborate Scam

I went to sleep thinking about Conflict of Interest and wakened up thinking about the first time it was suggested to me.

Ironically by the same lawyer retained by Council to examine the facts of the Morris law suit; George Rust D'Eye.

It was the  November night of the Great Emergency during the last term..A Council meeting had convened .The former Mayor declared Council would now go into closed session and drew attention to the  presence of solicitor George Rust D'Eye in the Council chamber.

The rest of Council filed obediently out. The Mayor brought the solicitor to my side.He wanted to have a few words with me, she said. and  both indicated it should be outside  the chamber.

I invited the solicitor to grab a seat. The Mayor left.

Mr. Rust D'Eye 's opening was a question. Had I retained a solicitor?

I answered ... Why would I do that?

He said  he was not suggesting it.

He proceeded to elucidate the seriousness of  the new Conflict of Interest Act

I had not retained a solicitor, neither  had I invited Mr.Rust D'Eye to advise me, I thought but I didn't say it.I did not want to be rude.

As he talked, his purpose became apparent. My presence was not welcome in the in-camera meeting. I might hear something to my advantage, if the matter were to  proceed to litigation.

At that point I decided  it was time to attend the meeting.

I said. "I am a member of  council. I have a right  to be at this meeting.That is exactly what I intend to do"

If the subject  was such,  a duly elected Councillor should not attend then which Councillor did have a right to be there.Was there in fact a right to hold the meeting?

A news story  had reported Council  turned down a request by the Police Chief and  Regional Chairman to sell land. at the asking price, the town had for sale, to build the Regional Police Headquarters.

The presumption was a leak from an in camera meeting.

It was decided in September. "The leak" was in November. Decisions made behind closed doors are required to be reported out to the public.

Weeks  passed. No sign of reporting out. The entire police department,  were aware of the incredible decision. Yet a leak was presumed.

In camera meetings are not for the purpose of giving cover to  political gamesmanship.

If the municipal interest is harmed by information  being revealed for an improper purpose ; a financial advantage; to sell  in return for a bribe; a serious breach of trust has occurred. That's a criminal offence.

Refusal to sell  land we had for sale at the  asking price  for the purpose of building the Regional Police Headquarters was far more damaging to the public interest than the public becoming aware of the fact..

The reason for refusal added nothing to its lustre.

The harridan pair were engrossed  in their determination to degrade an officer of the corporation sufficiently to compel him to quit

The vote was  not to refuse to sell the lands. The vote was  not to authorise the official to continue to negotiate an agreement.

The great foo-for-aa  about a need for legal advice to deal with the scandal  of a leak and a rogue councillor  was nothing more than an elaborate scam to divert attention from a plan to claim credit where none was due.

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