"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

Tuesday 11 June 2013

What a Tangled Web was woven

I think it's a good thing a statement has been  made by  the Town about the suit filed against  the municipality by the former Mayor.

Complications from the legal activities of the last term  have continued into the current term.

Notice of Action served on the town involves a decision made in a closed door  meeting in the previous term.

Two Councillors on the current Council , voted in support of  a  carefully calculated resolution that cleared the way for a lawyer to be retained and suit launched against three residents  of the town. It was eventually ruled a SLAPP suit meaning .. launched   to prevent Public Participation in  public affairs,.

I boycotted the  in-camera meeting.  A  politician being subject to criticism  is  never  the business of the municipal corporation. No authority exists for a Council to use public resources to undertake such action.

That meeting continued until after one a.m. the following morning. The result was an ambiguously worded resolution  used  by a lawyer for a lawyer to be retained and a contract signed  and court proceedings commenced without  necessary, further, authority from Council.

The  current council has met and deliberated a number of times to  resolve issues emanating from that  infamous decision.

Each time, two  Councillors  who voted for the original decision have been present and engaged.

It would be difficult to imagine or warrant, under these circumstances, that confidentiality can or is being maintained.

This morning  Councillor Gaertner, one of the two, has e-mailed a request for copies of all documentation pertaining to the new notice of action.

I think there's a problem with that.

A Conflict of Interest suit filed  by a resident , at his own expense ,against the former Mayor, required staff members to be called as witnesses to  what transpired   during the  closed   door meeting.

The Town provided each staff member with legal counsel  to protect their interest as public servants.

How or  whether that affected  testimony,I cannot say.

I did not attend the meeting nor the court hearing.

But it worries me.

We all know the  surprising result of that proceeding.

A learned judge in the justice system has been heard to say frankly:

"The justice system is not what  people think it is. Nor what  they would like it to be"

Unfortunately ,I believe we can all agree .


Anonymous said...

Just an observation
This appears as though Councillors who were involved with any part of that earlier decision must recuse themselves from debate on the subject. They may argue that they are objective but the optics are dreadful for them. I'm afraid they wouldn't
recognize a conflict if it bit them

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Wendy should change her name plaque from Councillor to Counsellor.

Anonymous said...

@9:43 that makes no sense. Unless they stand to benefit financially, there is no conflict. Just because their position on an issue is known, and even if they had a part in effecting some decision or another, it does not mean that they may not participate if the topic comes up again, or if that prior decision is reconsidered.

Anonymous said...

9:43.. so you will have 3 councillors recuse themselves?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:52 AM
Only 2, if it were my call. Which it isn't.

Anonymous said...

12:57... then you are not using a balanced argument and are spiteful

Anonymous said...

11:41 AM
We know nothing, zilch, about who might have stood to benefit or who might have contributed along the way. Anything is possible which might be why 9:43 AM stressed the ' optics. ' ?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 1:58 PM. I was not aware of being unbalanced & spiteful by pointing out the possibility of a conflict of interest. Are you feeling OK ?

Anonymous said...

A former Era-Banner reporter still keeping tabs on developments:


Anonymous said...

4:02... if you are the same as 12:57 then the fact that you will only have 2 councillors recuse themselves (assuming you are referring to Gallo and Gardner) instead of 3 (including Buck) makes you unbalanced and spiteful.

Buck was a sitting councillor at the time. Her being absent from the meeting to me shows that she endorsed it because she elected to not oppose it.

Anonymous said...

10:39 AM
May I get into your fight with whoever? When have you ever known Councillor Buck to fail to declare a conflict of interest? It seems to me that she errs on the other side, sometimes declaring one when it is not obvious to listeners. So I don't see the significance of your point.

Anonymous said...

2:43 - It's not a fight. It is a question of fair and balanced.

If 9:43 who said "Councillors who were involved with any part of that earlier decision must recuse themselves" is suggesting that only Gallo and Gardner are the ones "involved" then he/she is wrong. Buck was also involved - by specifically not participating in a meeting.

She may not have a conflict. The other two may not either. However, their involvement, be active or passive could be perceived as a potentially conflicting situation.

If you are going to dictate rules, they must be everyone.. not the ones you don't like.

It is all moot anyways because none of them are going to recuse themselves. The opportnity to shine in front of their minions is too great.

Anonymous said...

3:49 PM
Gee, I didn't mean to open a can of worms ! The original comment was about the ability to recognize a conflict. Some have it; others have not. We will see if your prediction is correct. Given the scale of current political turmoil, we are such small potatoes.