"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 28 February 2015

Is English Our First Language ?

The new addition to Aurora Family Leisure Complex is opening today.

Facebook has a cheery picture from the Mayor of three Councillors in the gymnasium in sports gear  holding basket balls. It was likely taken earlier in the week.

It's certainly a good time for something bright and shiny new when everyone is so tired of the long hard winter that isn't over yet.

There were no invitations to the opening. Probably because the red ribbon and cake cutting was in October before the election . Architects, contractors, press and all relevant  officials were on hand to receive plaudits for success of the project.

The celebration was held at the time the project was supposed to be completed.

But completion  is five months late and cost is more than twenty-five- per-cent above awarded contract price.

It's no small thing.

It's not clear how but it seems plans approved were deficient. A structural component at a million dollar  extra cost had to be added after the contract was awarded and construction was underway. It swallowed up the  contingency fund and another $400.thousand beside.

Last December the new Council were informed another $650,000  was required or work would stop.  The project would be abandoned unfinished.

Consternation  was expressed at the Council table. New councillors reported  community dis-satisfaction  with progress and their own  displeasure at being presented with an ultimatum. Pay up or else.

In terms of explanation,  silence was deafening.The Mayor and  Deputy who regularly sing from the same hymm sheet, on this occasion, had nothing to trill about.

At  Tuesday's meeting, Councillor Mrakas presented a resolution directing staff  to include a clause in all future contracts designed to compel completion on schedule.

The motion was not debated.

The motion begs the question.

How did it happen the AFLC project five months late in completion?

Why did cost mushroom to more than twenty five per cent of the contract price awarded?

Where  facts asuggest competence or efficiency?

Is there a separate understanding of  the word accountability ?


Anonymous said...

There is certainly a misunderstanding of the term " Penalty Clause ", The mayor has been quoted RECENTLY saying that such mechanism do NOT necessarily make a difference. He may have voted to include them in all new contracts but his hand was forced. He just does not GET it.
I think pressure from the new councillors was important on that vote and they probably realize it.

Anonymous said...

I think some thought their hands were tied in making their selection for a mayor. But they mitigated this by making it clear in the pre-election days that this mayor had to control spending. Indeed, some reported that they were quite satisfied the mayor had been given a clear message on spending.

And now we are being shown an approximate 6% increase.

On the new works garage our mayor reports it is a "judicious investment" and "a triumph of sound planning" based on "rigorous and critical analysis."

Keep spending and keep justifying just like it is done at the region. The taxpayers can be told that's what it takes for "customer service and service improvements".

Anonymous said...

There are signs of change - maybe.
I got to the minutes today & saw what almost made me regret not watching meetings anymore. Cllr Humfryes tried with a whole bunch of Wherasses to get the fee to the Farmers' Market for the use of the Armoury waived. It was defeated - she must have been shocked.

Anonymous said...

My curiosity is aroused when I see that "staff reports" pegged the Industrial Parkway widening from two lanes to four at a cost of more than $30 million.

What specific members of staff were involved in the preparation of these REPORTS, what direction had they originally been provided with, and what has this cost in wasted staff time that could have been invested in productive work?


Anonymous said...

Mayor Dawe won in a romp, 14:44. That is empowering not chastening. You've got an erroneous read on his situation.

Anonymous said...

Customer service needs no more tweaking = some outfit said we were top of the line. This budget cannot be blamed on anyone other than the last council. the majority of whom are still at the table.

Anonymous said...

A motion had to be made directing staff to include a clause designed to compel completion on schedule? You mean there was never one there?? They have to be told??? I thought we pay professionals to drawing up these contracts?

Anonymous said...

16:09- I don't even think staff did this report. I'm pretty sure it was done by an outside source and we had to pay someone to tell us that it was going to cost 30 million.

Anonymous said...

"the Mayor of three Councillors in the gymnasium in sports gear holding basket balls".
Thats about all they could do , no rock wall no running track and a mirade of other unfinished bits and pieces, just another not so grand opening !

Anonymous said...

Are communication dept. doesn't need any tweaking either. They need an overhaul from the top down.

Anonymous said...

How hard was it to win against that opposition ?
They could not have played the part of dangerous idiots better. All the mayor had to do was sit tight and shut up.

Christopher Watts said...

agree with 21:41

We went late yesterday to check things out and the opening seemed to be very premature. Perhaps staff needs to reconsider their delivery dates for these larger projects so that they under promise and over deliver instead of the other way around.

Anonymous said...

17:12: I suggest you call your optometrist. You may be suffering from a classic case of tunnel vision.

Anonymous said...

And that was supposed to be the easy one. Wait until the Joint-Ops gets growing pains.

Anonymous said...

12:36- We'll be the ones suffering the pains from that garage for years to come.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor didnt have competition at all.It was a joke and 10:12 get Tri- focals.

Anonymous said...

The clause was already in there. They are in every contract - something you Queen Ev should already know!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Come on - give her a break. She was a Reeve, Councillor and Mayor.

They fact she does not know what encumbrance accounting is - something municipalities do - is not important either.

Anonymous said...

If that clause was in there, why was the mayor explaining that having one would not necessarily have made a difference ? And why was it necessary for council to pass a resolution to include one in all FUTURE contracts ?