"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 1 April 2011

Satisfying Results

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Bedtime Story....Not":

Councilor Buck confirms for us, what we have suspected all along, that bylaw officers (and by extension police officers) are expected to give tickets. That's how their performance is measured, at least in part.

"One of the key performance indicators for a traffic and parking offence officers are numbers of tickets issued. His record was solid and consistent. Never a complaint."

In this case, the bylaw officer in question, it appears his problem he's making the other bylaw officers look bad. They're sitting in the Town Hall all day.

"He had however been outspoken about full-time officers not pulling their weight. Seldom leaving the town hall in fact. He felt sure of the reason for recruitment and suspected his would be the contract not be renewed."


The  response above  assures me  my post has been well understood. I appreciate that. Though I did not intend to convey the impression all bylaw officers are not pulling their weight.

Bylaws are passed to control problems. Tickets are issued to enforce  Bylaws. If there is no problem,there would be no bylaw. Bylaw officers would not be required, nor police officers either for that matter.

Since the task is  to enforce bylaws, it stands to reason tickets must be issued. The numbers are certainly an indication of work conscientiously undertaken.

When his   contract was not renewed,  an explanation was sought.  Modern employees have that right. None was offered. A severance package was provided.

The officer, a resident of Aurora, had no obligation  to  remain silent in the face of what he perceived to be  injustice, incompetence and a lack of integrity.

A member of Council was an entirely appropriate resource for his confidence. 

A flurry of comments made the usual accusations. Many people  are eager to advise  what the job of a Councillor is not without actually having any idea what it is .

I may be the Councillor  in Aurora with the longest experience and certainly  the longest span of  involvement. I have seen the most change. I certainly do not need to be advised  about the nature or degree of change.

It  always intrigues me when  a person without experience feels qualified to condescend to advise on the limits of my understanding.What is it about my bearing that encourages people to believe I need to be advised.

I conclude it's due to a lack of  experience.

Being experienced, I usually refrain from drawing attention to the obvious.

Feelings can be so easily bruised.  

A Councillor receives many confidences.  If a person in despair for whatever reason, can think of no-one else , they may turn to a Councillor they trust.

Sometimes it's just for a sympathetic ear.

I may be  able   to help or direct  to a  resource. An experienced Councillor knows of  resources  or  where to inquire.

Certainly, a  Councillor is a legitimate resource to an employee.

The  bylaw officer knew that when he called me. He needed someone to witness. He told me before the recruitment process was set in motion. It unfolded  as he said it would.

He was not the solitary victim of the last term. I can refer to it now because no more harm can be done.  That I couldn't change anything  for him and others , remains a well of regret but not forgotten.

Circumstances  have  changed .

An additional full-time bylaw officer with a salary of $85K  has been recommended to Council in the current budget.

Not surprisingly, I am not confident the recommendation has merit. I have no obligation to accept it and none whatsoever  to withhold my rational.

Being a Councillor is not about being all things to all people.

Council is not a philanthropic organisation  with a handful of elites making pleasurable decisions about  how much will be handed to who...whom...whoever.

Authority to impose taxation is not authority to distribute largesse,

Councillors have to be able to say no.

They are  accountable  to the people who elected them, who pay the taxes.

The administration is  accountable to Council.

A single Councillor may seem like nothing more than an irritant,depending on a variance of  council environment, administration attitude or a combination of  the two.

We are at the beginning of a new Council. I anticipate  a sea change.


Anonymous said...

"Since the task is to enforce bylaws, it stands to reason tickets must be issued. The numbers are certainly an indication of work conscientiously undertaken."
If it has been the case that more time has been spent in town hall than out enforcing bylaws, would this explain why the illegal parking on Conover outside Hartwell P.S., in the morning and afternoon, has not been resolved?
The situation there has not changed one iota despite referring it to the bylaws department.

Elizabeth Bishenden said...

My thought would be that part of the employment time of the by law officers would be spent working with the public ensuring that the by laws were understood, and somewhat less of the time would be spent working with the people who chose not to work within the guide lines of the by laws.

The rest of the job would be to work through the paperwork that the latter group causes.

Is there much else to the job?

Why are they appearing to be spending much of their time at Town Hall. Not enough bodies, or not enough direction?

Or something else?

Anonymous said...

I have aleay been told that Aurora bylaw enforcement is through complaints. The bylaw enforcement group does not patrol looking for bylaw infractions but wait for someone to call and complain.

Of course the only time this did not happen is when a neighbour was rilling up his garden hose before he lft for work at 5:30am one hot summer day. The bylaw enforcement guy was driving by an gave him a ticket for watering ourside the stupid times. He protested but the guy got back into his truck and drive away.

Anonymous said...

The underlying message is that if the performance is measured by the number of tickets issued, individual officers may feel compelled to issue more tickets, use less discretion or even give tickets that are at least questionable if not outight invalid. Afterall they are paid to attend court. Kind of a self governed make work program - the more tickets I give, the better I look to my superiors, and the more time I spend in court.

The next time someone gets a speeding or parking ticket that you truly thought you didn't deserve - remember it's source of revenue for the Town and, just maybe, a selffulfilling cylce of job security / advancement for the officer.

Maybe that's why the police officers on radar duty like to hide at the bottom of the hill.

Such a comforting thought to the motoring public.