Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Conflict … what conflict?

Posted by auroracitizen on August 28, 2008

There has been considerable discussion in the paper and on the street about the perceived conflict of interest of Council appointing a prominent member of the mayors campaign team to a paid position in the town without any opportunity for a member of the public to apply for the job.

While that is certainly a concern — the perception of patronage — it is not by definition a clear conflict of interest.

The clear conflict of interest is a member of a committee proposing a position that they were subsequently hired to fill — as Mr Whitehurst did. Mr Whitehurst was and is a sitting member of the committee that created the job he has now been appointed too. Resigning does not change the fact that he was involved in making the decision.

The definition of a conflict on interest is when you may benefit financially from a decision.

That is exactly why members of council declare a conflict when a topic is being discussed that may have, or be seen to have, a positive or negative financial impact on them. By declaring a conflict they remove themselves from the accusation of the financial impact influencing their decision.

There is no doubt that Mr Whitehurst is in a conflict of interest. If he wasn’t aware of this, then the mayor and Council certainly is and should have avoided the appointment.

For the Council to try and shift the blame to staff for this inappropriate decision is nothing less than a complete abdication of their responsibilities. Council knows they direct staff, not the other way around.

It’s time for this Council to step up and show some leadership — and stop looking for ways to avoid making hard decisions and shift responsibility to others for their poor performance.

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5 Responses to “Conflict … what conflict?”

  1. Anonymous said

    maybe you could get appointed to council

    oh wait

    they already did that

  2. Anonymous said

    Mr. Whitehurst may be qualified, according to whom? The mayor and her Human Resource experience,ha! I just can’t get over that with an entire 8 months of credible experience behind Mr. Whitehurst on this committee, makes him the prime candidate for the job. If eight months experience constitutes a position like this I have to wonder which personal buddy her majesty will appoint to the positions available in the town hall. We should all get to know Phyllis personally and see what position we can be appointed to, interim or otherwise. And I agree whole heartly the process has failed us yet again.

  3. Anonymous said

    Ah, but Anonymous Sept 7 10:52, you took the time to read it AND comment, so the blog works!
    It isn’t about Mr. Whitehurst being capable. He has excellent credentials and an involvement in the project that is acknowledged.
    It is about the process.
    He voted on the position to which he has been appointed. Conflict, pure and simple.

  4. Anonymous said

    There is no conflict, and you know it. If the past Executive Director of the Historical Society had not taken a job in Markham, this INTERIM position would have most likely been hers. Mr. Whitehurst is the most capable person to fill this SHORT TERM contract. Staff and Councillors agree. I’m sure glad not many people read this blog and the crap it contains — still more than read the Auroran, though.

  5. Anonymous said

    Time for you to stop picking the lint off your jacket and start contributing!!

    Vote, if you wish to be counted!!

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