"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 4 July 2015


Finally... an official  Mayoralty announcement of  the CAO's departure. 

Weeks after a media statement the CAO was looking forward to the challenge of being at the  helm of Richmond Hill's administration. 

At the time of which Aurora's  Mayor stated  "no official statement at this time."

At or about the time of a Council query about staff training and conference budget of $199,000.
with a view to reducing same in 2015. 

Such a palaver ensued. 

The CAO vehemently argued against cutting the  training budget. 

The Treasurer argued details  of  2014 spending would take a long time to gather.

The Mayor and one other argued against a motion to direct staff to gather it  anyway. 

Despite the Treasurer's specious argument,figures were produced in a week. 

In the last of several pages ,two figures stood out from all the others.

AHA...I thought.  Herein lies a clue.  

$15,000 and  $8,000 for two courses at Schulich Business School of York University. 

I  queried a Councillor for names. He was unable to say.  Staff had informed Councillors if names were released, employees would be discouraged from taking courses. 

What a crock!

No media account of this exchange.  We may assume therefore it did not happen in public. 

The plot thickens.

First, vehement opposition by  outgoing CAO to reduction of a  budget because of advantage of encouraging  staff initiative for benefit of the municipality.

No evidence of said advantage. 

The crock runneth over.

The CAO had already made the decision to leave Aurora. 

Why the need to distract Council's focus from that specific budget?

What purpose the Treasurer's  fallacious argument against producing the figures?

Elements  of panic and desperation? But why?

Figures were produced, clearly in orderly and efficient composition within days.

Why did the Mayor enjoin staff and oppose the motion to direct figures  be produced?

Just as he opposed four years previously, a motion to direct the solicitor to review the nefarious Purchase  of Culture Agreement after he had attended board meetings for a year without Council's knowledge. 

Said agreement by the way, proved to be entirely to the disadvantage of the municipal corporation. 

Mayors of Richmond Hill and Aurora are colleagues at Regional Council. 

What chance no communication about Aurora's  CAO  departure to join Richmond Hill Administration? 

Remote, I'd say.

A recent public statement by Richmond Hill Mayor notes the incoming CAO  has a Master's Certification in Municipal Management from York University Schulich School of Management. 

So, who paid for that I wonder? And who authorized the expenditure?

So...we may be closer to the truth of it.

The need for obfuscation, prevarication, secrecy and flat -out misrepresentation?

Well....Let me guess   ....like there's a chance I won't. 

The two largest expenditures in the 2014 conference and training budget were courses taken at the Schulich Business School in York University .

Was that successor planning? think not. 

In his public reference to the separation, Mayor Dawe made an illuminating reference to his reliance on this CAO when he and others "were like deer in the headlights " after the 2010 election. 

We may take it as admission that every step he took ,every word he uttered, was guided. 

The blind leading the blind on a path well-trodden. 

In each of two years after the 2009 appointment,the  CAO's budget ,as I re-call,  included $75,000 for "training"

The CAO came to Aurora from the office of the Regional CAO, where he was manager of data base something -or -other. Before which he was manager of community planning.these were cited in the Riichmond Hill Mayor's statement as leadership positions. 

 Nowhere did his profile , prior to Aurora, note experience in managing a municipal corporation. 

During the time since, bad things happened in this little town that I have loved so much. 

Public resources were used to retain external legal counsel to sue three residents on spurious grounds  for political purpose as  ultimately decided by the Judge.

The town solicitor, under authority of the CAO,provided the only affidavit in the case. 

He was found by a judge to have evaded questions and lied.

Cooked-up Code of Conduct and Harassment complaints against a veteran sitting member of Council
(Moi) were hatched and implemented with legal assistance at exorbitant cost and collateral damage.

A Municipal Clerk ,with a freshly signed five year contract abruptly left the town's employment. 

An Deputy -clerk went on stress leave for months. 

An Integrity Commissioner had to retain legal  counsel to protect his own reputation. 

Loyal and competent employees had jobs spirited out from under them. 

A Director of Legislative Services with relatively short service was paid off with a substantial severance package for no apparent benefit to the municipality. 

The town's insurance company changed a decision to deny liability which led to $850,000  and -counting expenditure resulting in 41% increase in town premiums for protection in the following year
And forever thereafter.

Destructive and horrendous personal damage was enabled during the time since 2009. 

In my judgement, the community has not been well served and still has no reason to be complacent. 


Anonymous said...

Even Sherlock Holmes, with his hands tied behind his back, his legs shackled, blindfolded, his ears plugged and his sense of smell temporarily disabled, could follow this disgusting trail of a public used, abused and robbed by those who would serve us.

Anonymous said...

Was it not Councillor Mrakas who found and fought to reduce the training and development line item by 100,000? and in the end got the reduction and a savings for the residents..good thing someone noticed what was going on!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let also add that to take courses you need time off to study, double whammy, but I do hope that he at least study on his own time. We have to remember that every time an employee takes training he/she also gets paid for that time.

Anonymous said...

"Said agreement by the way, proved to be entirely to the disadvantage of the municipal corporation."

Patently untrue, by the way. The agreement was subsequently improved, but the original was NEVER "entirely" to the Town's disadvantage. That's just more of your bluster and hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

I do;love it when you use those terrific words, Evelyn. Especially when they hit the target so well.

Anonymous said...

There appear to be fewer and fewer staff qualifying for the mayor's annual golfing venture.

Anonymous said...

If no one is watching the store because they might be accused of micro-managing staff, then bad things can happen in the store. We have had what appears to be a term of looking the other way instead of shining alight in the corners.

Anonymous said...

I think you might be giving too much credit for merely stumbling along ?

Anonymous said...

To those with long memories and of a certain age you might remember an afternoon weekly tv show "Queen for a Day" where some poor overworked mother suddenly was acknowledged and received a truckload of stuff ranging from major appliances to clothes and tickets to the movies for a year.

These business school courses remind me of good old mom. Too bad they didn't video the presentations.

Anonymous said...

For the month of July heads of Departments are in the role of acting CAO, presumably two at a time to be fair.

In this capacity will their joint initials or signatures be required whereas with a permanent CAO it would be his/her single initials or signature?

By the way, are there any female CAO's of Ontario towns of equal size to Aurora?

Shakes Head said...

Trying to state opinion and conjecture as fact again, eh?

Anonymous said...

"Trying" nothing of the sort.

Anonymous said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see, 23:14.

Anonymous said...

I think that is silly, that staff would be deterred from taking courses if their names were known. Certainly the other staffers will be aware of any extra courses being undertaken. I wonder who told the councillors not to reveal this dreadful information. Just a wee bit paranoid.

Anonymous said...

8:57- See what exactly?

Anonymous said...

What a crock of BS. Eveyone knows who's taking what courses in each others dept., Unbelievable the crap excuses that comes out of that building.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering who gave the order not to reveal those taking classes.
And why councillors should feel obligated to obey ?
They were the ones elected to office. Not some CAO. They certainly don't have to obey the mayor with his one vote.