"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 4 August 2015


Had a short exchange with Councillor  Mrakas on Facebook .Thought  I'd share. Like many stories, it has a beginning, not necessarily an end. 

A recent call to the town took twelve or fifteen rings before an answer, then placed on hold for a further ten minutes. Customer Service attendant was attending to a customer at the desk.

I was not aware of town retail sales initiative. 

The 2015 budget included two additional staff  for  C.S. Department. Council had understood  the program would not require additional personnel. 

Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville were doing it. 

The new facility took forever to build with a new manager's office at the rear. The job of a twenty-six year employee was snatched out from under. Apart from ethics,
the severance would be expensive. 

Purpose of re-organization was to facilitate  access to appropriate town departments. 

A manager permanently appointed from a contract position in charge of accessibility initiative gave the first lie to the statement there would be no additional staff. 

Her  replacement was youth co-ordinator in recreation. Without experience but increased salary.

My first experience with C.S  was a parking problem.. A resident asked for a meeting  after weeks of involvement with the Mayor's office and  C.S.  At the meeting, we learned C.S.manager  had tried personally, earnestly and unsuccessfully to resolve the problem with repeated contact with regional police. She was not aware the town had a traffic engineering division. 

The Russian resident was not fluent in English.  An interpreter was retained at town expense,got stuck in traffic and arrived too late. 

Two weeks before last, reading to the end of Brock Weir's column in The Auroran, I learned the town iis in the retail business of  selling souvenirs at the Customer Service desk in the Town Hall. 

Now to the exchange on Facebook with Councillor Mrakas. 

It seems the item never came before Council. There was no discussion or approval of the enterprise. No reference to the initiative during budget and no indication of cost or anticipated revenues. 

Yesterday I visited the town web site to access street maps. Found no maps. But did find sales promotion of dishes  bearing town logo and such. 

So questions arise:

Whose office did the sales rep visit?
Who was responsibile for making the executive decision to launch into retail  enterprise? 
Who assigned responsibility to Customer Service? 
Who ordered inventory and created accommodation? 
Who directed Communications to promote sales?

What's going on? 

Does Aurora Council accept their phoney- baloney decorative role in the  grand scheme of things? 

I hear during Council meetings the Mayor busies himself with his blackberry when a speaker is of no interest.  Lap tops in front of  Councillor Abel and various Directors are open at pages unrelated to  Council matters  being discussed. 

Time off in-lieu is provided for time spent by dIrectors at meetings. 


Anonymous said...

I think retail is just great.

Think, the town could rerun videos of old Council meetings - the bad ones - where people were sworn at and shafted.

As part of this entertainment fresh popcorn could be sold, the profits from which might be astronomical.

The Treasurer might weep with joy as the town's budget got balanced with NO NEW TAXES.

Anonymous said...

If you check back issues of the Auroran, Brock Weir had an article on the stuff the town is trying to flog and how it could be improved. I do not know if it matters but when I went on Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 to pay something off, there were 4 ladies sitting waiting to help. The place was empty and they looked bored silly./ At least you used to be able to get blue boxes to give them something to do.

Anonymous said...

You should see the Heritage meetings.

Member Constable is glued to a Blackberry during the meeting.

Anonymous said...

but if you call him on anything, the rejoinder is swift.
It was a mistake and there was a failure of coomunications

Anonymous said...

Now that another councillor has had to hit the bricks , there is one more body with too much time on hand.
They should all just stick to driving around checking pot holes and leave the dream stuff alone.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things.

Who uses a Blackberry anymore? That says volumes about those that do. Considering the Town flogs an app to track grabage and recyle collection that DOES NOT WORK on a Blackberry, the fact they have is laughable.

Isn't the role of selling Town swag part of the job of the Chamber of Commerce?

Regarding The Auroran. Is it still being printed? I have not received one (SW Aurora) in months.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the expenditure is kept sufficiently low. the project does not have to get council approval ? The department heads are allowed a really generous ceiling imo. I think it is way too high except perhaps for Mr Downey's

Anonymous said...

Auroran in the mailbox or on top of the garbage box every week here ( SW Aurora too }

Anonymous said...

Yikes - I would be careful of the "from what I hear" ......

Anonymous said...

I am reluctant to admit it but I miss the departed CAO. He at least was aware of what was going on around him. And pointed out sink holes, boulders and the like. Now it's really getting messy.

Anonymous said...

Great Auroran this week

Anonymous said...

14:19: I wish I got it, have not had one in months