"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 13 March 2015

With A Clear View

The final debate on clear bagged garbage was telling. The Mayor revealed he initiated the project.

I did not know that. 

The initial report was presented by IES Director Ilmar  Simanovskis. Later a consultant delegated to Council and made a presentation with details.

The question of enforcement arose in the discussion that followed. I asked how and he said  bylaw officers would issue tickets for non-compliance.

I envisioned bylaw officers following garbage collectors,
examining garbage, writing tickets describing  the nature of non-compliance and  reaction of residents in receipt of said tickets  attached to uncollected garbage denoting penalty for non-compliance. 

Any support for the project evaporated immediately. 

But questions remained:
Where did this proposal come from? 
How did it get this far?  
Who was that delegate? Did he have a product to sell?
Had the town retained him to add to staff arguments?

The chain of events seemed to give that indication. 

At no time was it clear the initiative had come from the Mayor.

Yet it does look like the entire exercise  was intended to
bypass the authority of Council by the Mayor and cohorts.

Directors have authority to spend a specific amount without Council approval on an emergency basis. At least, that's how it used to be. 

In the last term, the CAO's authority to spend was recommended to be increased to $300, 000. Council
approved an increase to $200,000.

In hindsight, it appears funds expended were: Not in a budget. Not in a business plan. Not in a strategic plan  And without Council authority. 

But solely on the "initiative "of the Mayor with support from staff.

Councillor Abel, always in tandem with the Mayor, argues the  program does not cost more and  though he knows residents are opposed, they only need to be "educated " 

He and one other Councillor accompanied the Mayor to Markham to view the program at work. I don't know if anyone else was in on the plan 

In effect, a consultant was retained , staff  and select Councillors were involved,  the decision-making process was stretched over two Councils and in the end nothing was accomplished. 

Zilch, Zero, Nada, Negative,Nil. 

Time and resources were exoended. The town's interest was not served. 

The initiative for a heritage theme park traveled in much the same direction. 

A list of prominent citizens headed by the Mayor, attached  names to a petition of support. A "special project planner" in the CAO's office was assigned to study the idea and write  an extensive report on the plan .All positive. 
Council had made a decision. The  proponent was advised to obtain a business plan financed with private resources. 

That decision was sidestepped when Councilor Abel enabled the proponent to make a second pitch to the Heritage Advisory Committee of which he was Chair,  HAC recommended  the Director of Recreational Services carry out a feasibility study and that morphed into a $25,000 consultant study which advised no benefit would accrue to the municipality. 

Even after all that and a negative vote cast the Mayor still declared, In his view, it was a good idea. 

Since it was his idea from the start and he had fellow travelers which seemed to be the case ,he would certainly have to say something  like that. 

Evelyn Buck


Anonymous said...

The Mayor and all his cronies, be they councillors or members of staff - senior or otherwise - should all refund to the town's treasury whatever time was devoted to this stupidity stated in dollars, dollars that were squandered on another pie-in-the-sky undertaking.

In future all elected officials and staff members should be prepared to put their money where their mouths are.

It seems only reasonable for the taxpaying public to expect those they elect and those they employ to devote ALL of their time to the betterment of the town on the basis of a practical approach.

There should be no more clear garbage bags or universities on the Council's agenda.

Anonymous said...

You know an initiative is going to crash when everyone can see it is impractical & it becomes the subject of jokes,
I wouldn't mind so much if it didn't cost us such a lot of money for each of these flights of fancy.

Anonymous said...

So silly - all we needed was a limit to the amount of trash people put out - just to get residents thinking about it. One of my kids lived in a place north of here and when her kids were all little and she needed an extra bag each week, she paid a $1.00 or so for an additional tag. They were available at all the local stores. They learned to just be more careful.

Anonymous said...

If the CAO was "on the job" he would have nixed the "special project planner" to begin with.

Councillor Abel is inappropriately named - he should be "Disable."

Just because he has a dream does not mean that the town has to commit millions of dollars so that he can fulfill it.

When are the "knights of the round table" going to start acting responsibly, something we assumed, wrongly, when we elected them?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that one of the 3 who took the Markham waste collection tour voted against in initiative. If he had done this in the beginning, a lot of expense and rhetoric could have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

That delegate did have a product to sell. His company had brought the clear bags to Markham & another town [ can't recall which one ]. He was the one who claimed it was effective but seemed unsure about how it could be proven.

Anonymous said...

22:11- There really wasn't any choice for the head of the round table.

Anonymous said...

What expenses were there? I thought they had investigated the possibility? Thats' what staff and council are paid to do no?

Anonymous said...

No more clear bags and one year of wasted time.