"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

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Just Give Us The Facts ...Ma-am

The Mayor was aggrieved  last night.

Understandably .

As I was, two weeks since .

I had  received information of a deeply disturbing nature.

I have to use language like that to convey the depth of my feeling.

I requested  the item be added to a confidential agenda.   I disclosed what I knew and sought the Mayor's assistance in determining facts of the matter.I perceive the role of the Chief Executive
Officer as conduit on  privacy matters between Council and administration.

The negative response  prompted the motion presented  last night to direct the Mayor to report to Council how he perceives his role.

The discussion was delicate. Information from an in -camera meeting is "sacrosanct"  the Mayor said. He  listened to the tape and  claimed he did not say what I said he said.

But he had . he said, said it  previously.in public ...during the election. He  gave the commitment then that he would not micro-manage.

He held up  three pristine paperback books to indicate he had learned his role from learned authors. And other Mayors.

The Municipal Act does give the Mayor the title of Chief Executive Officer, he acknowledged, but it  seems to mean nothing.

If he had executive authority " there  would be changes " he said

It was an illuminating discussion.  How the Mayor perceives his role and how not.

The vote was five to four .The deciding vote being the Mayor's, not to direct himself to report to Council  how he perceives his role.

He told Council, however, he will provide a report.

There  are some areas of disagreement.

I do not think of in camera meetings as "sacrosanct"  It's an odd reference in political  terms.

In the last ten years, a multitude of municipal officials were made redundant by amalgamation
of the boroughs that formed Metro. Metro itself was dismantled.

They  took to hanging out shingles, writing  books and conducting workshops anywhere and everywhere to make a living. Can't blame them.

Next week ,there's a two day workshop at the town hall on parliamentary procedure .The fee is $449.
plus tax  for each person.The consultant bills himself as a parliamentarian.  No indication he has ever held elected office.

In the consultant study on Service Levels one of the functions of the communications division is speech-writing  for the Mayor and  Councillors.

Wouldn't be surprised  to learn the column in The Auroran is written by staff  as well and reports from the Region and Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority .

Maybe when the Mayor writes his  promised report, he will include  remuneration for the job. Whatever he thinks it is.

That's the thing about elected office.

It's public.  Not private.


Christopher Watts said...

Mayor Dawe took to twitter last night to claim he was embarrassed:

"What a bizarre Council meeting tonight. inappropriate motions that made no sense but strictly meant to embarrass me and others. How sad."


Looking forward to watching Rogers coverage of last night's meeting (already online at http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=69&gid=119188 ) to find out more about the 5/4 vote.

Anonymous said...

It is all so petty. If he had asked the questions you had of staff, the matter would have been dusted away the and there. Now it hangs in the air like a dirty sock. Quite unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

Wow…I saw a side of the Mayor that I always suspected and wished it wasn't true.…It was confirmed last night. Very disappointing…. But for some reason I suspect you were not surprised.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone who reads those three books capable of being mayor as a result?

We seems to have a plethora of "threes" in our town. Three trees, three books.

The living ones, if chopped down, could make a great deal of paper, possibly for thousands of "how to" books.

Possibly the owner of 33 Lanthorpe Court could donate his three trees that could then be turned into books for future mayors, and even future councillors.

I find all of this verbal fencing rather stupid. Sensitivity is not a desirable trait in a politician. Intelligence is. We seem to see less and less of this at all levels.

I am pleased to see Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have retained lawyers and are fighting their Senate accusers, who may not legally be permitted to suspend them without pay for up to two years.

Anonymous said...

The Morrisite Three were quick to jump on the coattails of your disquieting and disturbing notice of motion. By attacking Mayor Dawe you provide encouragement and aid to the enemy.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor did not listen to the motion. It was not meant to embarrass him or anyone else.
Not sure if it is his job to decide which motions are ' inappropriate '.
Maybe he should check his little books.

Anonymous said...


What balderdash is this?

These nine form the "fellowship of the ring."

Anonymous said...

The pettiness can be seen to go either way, 12:50.

Anonymous said...

It would be wrong to ignore problems because you believe someone else would cause worse ones. The Mayor acted like a horse's butt. As the little kids say. " He done it his own self "

Anonymous said...

Possibly there is a vast difference between managing and leading.

I don't see any sense of leadership on the part of the mayor.

Anonymous said...

Hard to herd cats unless you have experience.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am being simplistic ? He should have asked whatever questions the councillor had and passed on the information in confidence. End of story.

Anonymous said...

We have almost finished watching the tape. Mayor Dawe must wish he had left that one in the can.

Anonymous said...

I could not help but be reminded of a series of primers that existed in the 1950's and 1960's, and possibly still do.

They were called Cole's Notes and they were student guides to literature, one for each of Shakespeare's plays, major novels, and also covered other subjects including math, science, etc.

They came to mind when Mayor Dawe held up the three books that were the source of his knowledge on how to be and act like a mayor. This was a rather juvenile bit of puffery.

It is the experience that makes the man or woman in that chair, not a trio of paperback books.

It was interesting to see Clrs. Ballard and Gallo making the most sense around last night's Council table. Humfryes can barely speak a phrase without stuttering, Abel is talking in circles, Thompson is just talking - a boring speaker - Pirri is wandering and Gaertner is just being her indomitable self (a high compliment).

Anonymous said...


The problem here is you have a group for the most part do not want to be lead, they want to lead.

You've got councillors with blogs, other councillors that use Twitter or letters to the editor and still others that use Town letterhead.

When I was in the army, we had a section leader that wore a T-shirt that said on the back... "I must catch up to the others, for I am their leader". Dawe may be the leader, but those he is to lead do not respect that and will not be lead.

Anonymous said...

It is awkward when one cannot identify the real enemies. Cllr Gaertner's questions for clarification are frequently booby-traps. Cllr Buck's motions were a genuine quest for information that should have been easily available to her but was not. There is a vast difference between the two councillors.

Anonymous said...

"Cllr Buck's motions were a genuine quest for information that should have been easily available to her but was not."

A councillor probing the employment situation of a member of Town staff could be considered meddling, couldn't it? If the issue was being pursued by a Morrisite it would be, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:17
Not if it is done in in confidence.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, 14:27, what are your thoughts on the confidentiality of an 'in camera' meeting being breached?

Anonymous said...


You give Councillor Gaertner too much credit for the ability to think in such complex terms of setting up booby trap questions

Anonymous said...

When Paul Pirri ran, he was carrying a philosophy text. That made sense. He was studying, I voted for him. Why the Mayor would be trotting around with booklets on how to be a Mayor confuses me.