Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Legal Fees

Posted by auroracitizen on September 10, 2008

The recent article in The Auroran about legals fees raised a couple interesting points. The FOI issue is covered in a separate post, but the increase in fees and the lack of clarity of why the monies were spent is equally troubling.

When then Councillor Morris made her request in 2006, she asked for a clear and thorough report detailing how often, what reason and what cost. Yet when a similar request is made now that she is Mayor the numbers were provided in lump sums by month — with no explanation.

Of course, there is the obvious increase from $76,881.98 in 2006 to $81,666 in 2007 and already $139,339 year to date (Jan – Aug) for 2008.

The monthly 2008 average of approx $17,500 puts Aurora on a spending rate equivalent to over $200,000 for the full year.

Where is the similar demand for clarity? What are the reasons for the significant increase in spending — and where will this increase be funded from?

How much of next years inevitable tax increase will be directly attributable to these increased legal costs.

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19 Responses to “Legal Fees”

  1. Anonymous said

    I think it is great that more people are showing an interest in what is going on in this town. The more people who are interested, the more the leaders will listen to the wishes of the various stakeholders.

    And thank heavens for Evelyn Buck. If she wasn`t telling us what was going on, most of us wouldn`t have the time to keep up.

    I served with Evelyn last term, and although I didn`t always agree, I always listened because she had her facts straight and she was passionate about what she believed was best for the town of Aurora.

    One I thing I always knew, she put the interests of the town ahead of everything else.

    It would be nice if the same could be said for all politicians.

    Bill Hogg

  2. Anonymous said

    If the costs for external lawyers are as stated and I have no reason to believe otherwise as they were obtained through a FOI request, then as a tax-paying resident of this town I am gravely concerned. We moved to Aurora just 4 years ago and in our naivete actually campaigned for Phyllis Morris for mayor. My husband valiantly trudged door to door several times a week trying to recruit votes on her behalf. I was less committed I’m afraid. His tanks came in an email from the campaign organizer, Richard Johnson was his name I believe. He delivered a cursory “thank you” and then admonished my husband because our area was won by Tim Jones. I can say that neither of us will support Phyllis Morris again or campaign for anyone in this fair town again if that is how willing volunteers are treated!
    Since then I have followed the town’s polics closely and even been involved as a volunteer but I have to say that I been disgusted with Mayor Morris’s conduct and that of the majority of this present council.
    I would like to add, however, as it is a “hot” topic at the moment that my interactions with town staff at all levels have been exemplary. If only Ms. Morris and her cohorts would take note…

  3. Anonymous said

    If the anonymous poster is a town councilor, why hide behind anonymous. If your intention is to protect the confidentiality of the town, hiding is definitely not the way to do it. However, it is not surprising that either the Mayor or the other 5 would bow to such an action. What do you have to hide by not signing your name? What is so confidential about a solicitors name? What disclosure took place? What the heck are you talking about? I can only guess that this post was posted by the ever malicious and angry Evelina whatshername? Signed anonymous because I HAVE too.

  4. Evelyn Buck said

    Evelyn Buck says
    The interim lawyer was on staff just a few weeks. I do not even remember seeing his name on a report.
    His precise nomenclature was not the point of the reference. I’m sure the Auroran would be pleased to print the details of John Rogers departure. Despite the Mayor’s comment about wishing to see “facts” in reporting, I am equally sure she is not likely to provide the facts of the matter.
    The intent of regulations regarding confidentiality is to protect the town’s interest. The privacy of an individual relates to harmful comment against an employee.
    I have said nothing harmful against John Rogers.
    Can anyone who watched council meetings in the past eighteen months say the same about the Mayor or Councillor MacEachern.

  5. Anonymous said

    there were “nine elected members…”

    that’s right and now we have eight plus one hand picked by Morris

    democracy? open and transparent government?

    can you not see the point?

    No one is attacking the current mayor – they are rightfully commenting on the ongoing abuse of process, procedure and power that she engages in.

    It is clear, after 22 months with Morris in the mayor’s office – A Faustian bargain was struck – but it is us that are paying the price…

  6. Anonymous said

    Dear “poster” of September 11, 2008. You stated, “Until a couple of weeks ago, Robert Chambers was on staff on an interim basis. He gave notice and quit the same day.
    John Rogers,former CAO had the authority to appoint a new solicitor.
    He made an excellent and timely
    recommendation which was disallowed by the Mayor and her allies.” You not Evelyn Buck. Evelyn Buck being so intuned with the Town’s affairs thought the SOlicitor’s name was Robert Cambridge. The Auroran also reported the solicitor’s name as Robert Cambridge. Both should have known the name was “Robert Chambers”.
    If the information provided in this “post” is correct it was submitted by a council member (and not Evelyn Buck) or a staff person. Either case diclosing confidential information!!!

  7. Anonymous said

    Don’t be surprized if the actual cost of legal fees exceeds $500,000.00. Half a million dollars for nothing. And, this council is not yet halfway through it’s term. Two more years of this nonsense will bankrupt our town. There must be something we can do to oust this mayor.

  8. Anonymous said

    It is so heart warming to hear the residents of this Town FINALLY seeing the true Phyllis Morris. For years, as a member of council, she spent her time forwarding HER agenda making the first day of any new term, the first day of her election campaign. She spent years throwing stones at people in opposition and undermining them anytime she could to further herself. Now that she has to come up with the solutions and decisions to benefit our community, she is failing miserably. That’s because, she is incompetent. She has surrounded herself with a crew of yes men but still can’t get the job done. You can’t go anywhere in this town right now without the mayor being the topic of conversation…and it isn’t good. You reap what you sew and Phyllis Morris is in, way over her head.

  9. Aurora Citizen said

    We welcome guest posts from all readers. If you look to the right column directly under the Mission Statement you will see the invitation to all.

    We look forward to recieving your post, or if you wish to remain anonymous, we will copy and post your comment as a new post for general comment.

    Let us know which you would prefer.

  10. Anonymous said

    It seems to me that the purpose of this blog is to attack the mayor. Nine were elected to office. Why is the mayor the focus for attack? I don’t know if she is right or wrong but I do know that nine persons were elected to office. I do know that one person, after being duly elected copped out, seemingly because someone yelled at her. I know that my children have yelled at me but I did not disavow myself of my assumed responsibility as a parent.
    I did not ask others to pay for my change of mind.
    I worked to take my responsibilities responsibly. It seems to me that this blog has been set up solely to attack the mayor. I don’t know if she is right or wrong. I do know that a blog that pretends to be set up to give everyone a say is focused on attacking the mayor, with no person responsible for it. Yet, Aurora Citizen directs and responds. I find it strange that Aurora Citizen takes the position that it is a non-person, yet writes and directs the blog.
    From my point of view there is intention in this blog but no ownership, hence no credibility,and falls for me under the heading of dirty politics, supported by The Auroran.

  11. Anonymous said

    Why is it that every time our mayor’s name comes up, it always seems that it results in me saying “Oh for goodness sake!” I try to keep a fair and open mind, and not make judgements based on what others think. I know that our mayor made some good promises, and change did seem like a good thing at the time. But from things I’ve seen and heard – – and I mean the actual facts, and not the rumours – – I have been left many a time hanging my head in shame as a citizen of Aurora. I have to wonder if we have a town council or a grade-school playground, with the passive-aggressive, spiteful and selfish behaviour I see so blatantly. I don’t know what amazes me more, how extreme it is or how badly hidden the pettiness is! Mayor Morris, is the first thought in your head ever for our town, or is it always about either your next advantage or spiting someone who disagrees with you? I think the biggest punch in the stomach to me as a citizen of this town was her unacceptable behaviour at the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards, where she apparently refused to take off her chain of office, despite being advised that it was not acceptable to wear the chain of office as it would be seen to be extremely disrespectful to the Lieutenant Governor. Citizens of Aurora were present at this event, and no doubt were very embarrassed. To be fair, she did eventually take it off – – only to have her assistant carry it around in its large and obvious case, and put it back on the second it was technically ok. Mayor Morris, do you not realize that this behaviour gives the impression that you are a power-hungry person who does not care about anyone but yourself? I had not fully formed an opinion until that point, and time and again afterwards my opinion has only stayed the same or worsened. On behalf of many (many!) other citizens of Aurora I say: Either grow up and place priority on running the town – – not your own gains and vendettas – – or give up the job to someone who will!
    -S. Allen, Citizen of Aurora.

  12. Heather Sisman said

    Nah, she just forgot to log in to the Google/Blogger box below. No biggie. You knew who she was, right?

  13. Anonymous said

    Noting the last blog one is left to wonder the number of times Ev Buck has blogged as anonymous, eh.

  14. Anonymous said

    The Mayor’s side comment on Tuesday evening to Councillor MacEachern was that she was going to “call a recess
    in a minute” I mistook the word “recess” for “police”
    Her intention was clear however. She was determined I would not be heard.

  15. Anonymous said

    Until a couple of weeks ago, Robert Chambers was on staff on an interim basis. He gave notice and quit the same day.
    John Rogers,former CAO had the authority to appoint a new solicitor.
    He made an excellent and timely
    recommendation which was disallowed by the Mayor and her allies.

  16. Anonymous said

    I believe there is no full time lawyer on staff and the assistant solicitor is on maternity leave, so the numbers being reported are likely decreased by the “savings” in salary, leaving the actual dollars spent much higher than what is shown.

  17. Anonymous said

    i think mayor morris focuses more on what one of her councillors is blogging but she can’t not have heard of this blog by now. the other blog says that she thought the police were going to be called last night. scary.

  18. Anonymous said

    It would be interesting to know how many law firms are approved for use and how they were chosen. Seems like last Council had 3 and they were chosen in an open manner.

    How about this Council?

    Maybe Mayor Morris would care to comment — I am sure she is reading.

  19. Anonymous said

    And these costs are over and above the town’s lawyer that is on staff. Or isn’t on staff. I can’t remember if that position is vacant at the moment as the revolving door swings so fast and hard we can’t keep up.

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