"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 9 May 2020


In the stats, views are down. Obviously because I wasn’t critiquing Council’s zoom meeting.

Y’all know I need no encouragement to be wicked. But you gotta admit, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I tuned into the meeting because I understood the Chief Financial Advisor, was to advise on the financial impact of the Library Square Project. That didn’t happen.

Instead the advice was how lockdown would affect the budget. From my perspective, I thought it should save resources.  If suspended service reduced revenue, it followed non-employed employees
would be laid off. That didn’t happen.

Instead, a $2 something million dollar deficit is forecast. To be funded from a reserve created from over - taxation imposed in past decades years to “stabilize” taxes when a new firehall gets built from lot levies but has to be staffed with money raised from property taxes.

Municipal law does not permit budgeting for a deficit. The reserve fund dodge was devised by a previous Chief Financial Advisor to get around the Municipal Act. If you can’t strike a budget to take less money than you need, you can’t strike a budget to take more and for the same reason. People who pay for service must be the people who receive it. You can't return the money if they leave town before the funds were spent. The Chief Financial Advisors of all the municipalities and the Region have meetings, to come up with strategies, and a common front. If a Councillor challenges a recommendation....the Chief Financial Officer can name various municipalities doing it. In Aurora, it’s mostly Richmond Hill that gets cited. The strategy never fails. Councillors are usually assured by what everybody else is doing. Like a flock, right.

We shall pause and ponder the point at this juncture. It’s the kind of thing that got me a reputation for being a bit of a stickler and a fuddy-duddy forby.

For more than a century, town management was under the authority of a Clerk/Treasurer. Initially the same individual. When speaking to money management he was the “Treasurer”. One word.

Now, we have a three word title: Chief Financial Advisor. It takes 3 times as long to say, 3 times as long to type, 3 times as much space on a page, 3 times as much paper to accommodate. 3 times as much energy to copy.

In every sense, it costs 3 times as much and serves no useful purpose.

It indicates more than one advisor. You can’t have a Chief, if there are no underlings. Is that good to know?

Not to worry. Richmond Hill is doing it. They have four times the population. I hesitate to guess how much larger the geographic area with numerous small rural communities contained within. The relatively small town of Aurora has the same number of Chiefs as the sprawling municipality of Richmond Hill. Does that make sense?

When I started this post, I intended to write about the stupidity and hypocrisy of the non-decision on the Wellington Towers Development site plan, led by Councillors Humfreys, and Gaertner with hemming and hawing Councillor Gallo insinuating mud into the waters without really saying anything.

Instead, the financial deficit created by Covid 19 was the topic.  Council was informed of its impact. Other than use of reserves, ill-advisedly collected, advice was neither offered nor sought on how to offset the loss. Not only did the Treasurer forecast a deficit without a cut in costs, in a different area of town business, Council potentially added considerably to the deficit with anticipated cost of hundreds of thousands to defend the indefensible before the OMB.

I have never operated a business. I have raised seven children. At the same time I served as an elected representative and appointed public servant over several decades of my life. My education with two terms as Mayor and nine as Member of a quasi-judicial review board is more than that offered in any university.

I do pay attention to detail needed for accomplishment of any degree of success. Undoubtedly, I did not manage all well, all of the time. But I do know how.

Our Town’s Business is not well managed. It’s no way to run a railroad.



Anonymous said...

Geez! I think if you count all of the councillors children, it would'd add to 7! Degrees mean squat as far as running a business or managing anything for that matter. They are so over rated to someone's job performance or success. There's been many on council who have run businesses and haven't performed or lasted in politics as long as you. I think you "managed" better than most with a great deal of success.
You used to have a Martin Luther King quote just under your heading of "Our Town and Its Business". You were definately a politician who followed it. Love that quote. It should be posted in each municipality council chambers across the country and in all levels of government.

Anonymous said...

7!!!! They don't make them like they use to! The Happiest of Mothers Day Evelyn.