"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

Sunday 24 June 2012

Political Imperative ? Not

Thanks for your email. Our staff check the fields regularly, so, if you could advise on the specific field (s) that need work it would be a big help.

 I know that when I was an AYSC coach, the fields owned by the public board (for example Aurora High & Williams) were usually the ones that needed the most TLC.
Mr ..... and I have met with the AYSC executive on a number of occasions to discuss the availability of fields and he has been working diligently on filling that need. Indeed, the approval for multi-use field is coming before Council on next Tuesday and you are most welcome to come to the meeting and express your views.
Indeed, any member of the public is welcome to come to any Council meeting and express their views on any subject. To suggest that the AYSC has not been allowed to express their views to Council is incorrect. In fact, I have encouraged a number of groups, including the AYSC, to come to Council so that we are aware of your plans. I continue to encourage this

I have re-printed this e-mail for a purpose.

I've no doubt the Mayor responds to all citizens e-mails. As he should . Councillors do not always receive copies.

I was already frankly suspicious of skullduggery .

The Mayor notes " the Director and myself have already met with AYSC executive a number of occasions to discuss the availability of fields and  the Director has been working diligently on filling that need"

He refers to approval coming before Council  on Tuuesday and  urges the club supporter to come to Council and express her views

Shades of  the campaign fought  by the Culture Centre Board and the  circuitous route taken at the Council table
by the machinations of the Mayor, Councillors Humphryes and Thompson.That vote was supported by Councillors Gallo Gaertner and Ballard. 

Nobody made a comment then about strange bedfellows.  

Several indices can be taken from the Mayor's e-mail.

First the frequent meetings between the Mayor and the Club  have borne fruit. The Director has been working diligently to solve the problem of a shortage of fields. 

There is recommendation to Council for expenditure of $1.4 million dollars of funds from a reserve fund in deficit, for a second artificial turf surface within a year.

Whether or not these facilities are a priority at this time had not been determined nor was direction given by Council to proceed along these lines. 

The issue has never been brought forward.A significant step bypassed.

It seems  the decision to recommend, supported by four members of Council and the Mayor, could be deemed to have been made out of sight and sound of Council.

In the Mayor's office.

It's a theory I have formulated from another recent recommendation to Council that  the town budget  $100,000  for a sequicentennial celebration. .

Instinct stirred. The recommendation seemd to be initiated by the Director.The angry, frustrated  reaction of the Mayor belied the fact  and bolstered my suspicion.

When all was said and done, only the Mayor and Councillor Pirri supported the recommendation. I believe Councillor Pirri spends more time at the town hall than any other Councillor. He may have been a party to  pre-discussion. 

A hint of political connotation in a previous recommendation was noted In a public meeting. Eyes met and I knew.

The Director is extremely conscientious  about the line he may not cross. He never intervenes in  political debate. Never answers a question unless directed to do so by the presiding member.

He received his training, at the hands of a veteran Clerk  in another municipality.  Was banished from  Council meetings for a period in his early days, for speaking without permission to do so.

Ironically and unfortunately,politicians without experience may  corrupt the process, unwitting of the line that may not be crossed by either side.

It is not an unwritten law. A clause in the Code of Righteous Conduct sets out clearly  that the administration is employed by the Town and takes direction through resolutions of Council.

No single member of Council, including the Mayor,has authority to direct the administration.

The former Mayor corrupted the process.but good.  There was no hesitation to dominate.The administration offered no resistance

There were no illusions.  it was her way or the highway.

I  do not suggest history is repeating itself. 

But ...the Mayor's e-mail to the soccer club supporter  clearly  indicates  personal involvement in resolving a problem presented  as a shortage of facilities.

No doubt kudos are earned from the executive of the Club through successful intervention on their behalf.

Except .... Council's  authority  cannot be protected by abuse of the  authority of the Mayor's office.

The current administration is clearly comfortable with the  Mayor's participation in their side of the town's business.

They are  accustomed  to that face.

It appears he  may not be the only  Council  member who find security therein. As long as they form a majority, there is safety  in numbers. 

The community on the other hand, may take no comfort in the situation.

If a recommendation to spend $1.4 million to meet  the demands  of the Aurora Youth Soccer Club is  the result of complicity of friends in the right places,,there can never be  assurance of even-handed decision making.

There is  an absence of integrity of process.

After reading the  e-mail,there is no doubt of how the Mayor's vote will break the tie at Tuesday's Council meeting.

Unless of course, you take the matter in hand, as you have before, and let Councillors know what you think of the plan. 

It is readily agreed  the Aurora Youth Soccer Club is a private business. It does not function like other hand-to-mouth  minor sports organization  in town.

The  third comment in the post below verifies resident members  of the club have  issues with Club policies.

By no means are they satisfied resident needs are prioritized.

Private soccer schools,numerous rep teams in every class,.
expensive coaches ,glossy magazines and associated shenanigans, 30% non-residents membership, all swallowing up a disproportionate share of club resources are cited as the problems creating excessive demands for more facilities from the town. 

Residents who already know something of the history of this club will be glad to realize  there's a fresh wind blowing through the corridors of that power structure. .

Aurora Councillors would be wise to take something from this exchange.

How the tie vote resolves itself on Tuesday will be interesting to watch.

You're welcome. 



Anonymous said...

The mixed use turf field suggested for the Stronach complex is not a bad idea, it's only that we need to verify who we are building it for. Three private clubs, soccer, football, and now rugby, all vying for time on Aurora fields. Does this serve Aurora residents well? Only if the select few of themselves or their offspring are involved with one of the sports. Most of the players on the Barbarians rugby teams are NOT from Aurora. Same goes for the Bucs football. The soccer club uses full, lighted fields for their older and competetive divisions. Maybe if all these clubs would help pay for the fields requested, it wouldn't be an issue for tax paying residents.
It's alot of money being spent on facilities that are only used 6 months out of the year.

Anonymous said...

"Unless of course, you take the matter in hand, as you have before, and let Councillors know what you think of the plan."

How exactly is that different from the "Incoming Deluge" (which you maligned) in favour of the proposal?

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear. I hope he isn't doing the White Knight thing again. It hasn't worked out too well so far.

Anonymous said...

Parents of kids in Sport pay taxes too. They are aware of the costs & it would be unwise to feel that they/we could be bought with their/our own money. This does seem to be a serious problem that should be solved BEFORE any more money is thrown at it. I had heard that the different groups were working together, I think on Alison's program. Let's see some evidence of that co-operation now. Assuming eternal gratitude for a hand-out is bad for the town & its residents.

Anonymous said...

The Director also attended secret meetings in the company of the Mayor with the Center. To pretend he is not a main player is totally bizarre. Even if his seat at the table is not occupied, his presence is real and palpable.

Anonymous said...

Should the user pay?

This has been a question often asked but never satisfactorily answered.

A long-time neighbour has paid property taxes on their home for over forty years. They are childless. And yet a large portion of the tax they pay goes toward the cost of education. Is this fair?

What about the family four houses over with four children, all in university now. Their property taxes are about the same as those of the childless couple. But their four children travelled through the public school system, each for 13 years, counting kindergarten. So they received a huge benefit in comparison to the neighbour. Is this fair?

A similar question can be applied to municipal facilities, be they soccer fields, swimming pools, parks and roads. Is it possible to assess a user fee for these? Would such fees be fair?

It seems that this is a question without an equitable answer.