Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Council versus Staff Roles

Posted by auroracitizen on September 17, 2008

In this weeks Auroran there was a good commentary by Dick Illingworth about the ongoing battle between staff and Council. In it he expressed his opinion about the role of Council versus the CAO and how the break down in this role can and has created problems.

On a broader level, it has always been the general understanding that Council’s role was to establish policy and staff would then implement those policies in a fair and consistent manner.

It would appear that this division of responsibilities has broken down in Aurora in more areas than just between Council and the CAO. The recent situation concerning the lights in the Canadian Tire parking lot illustrates the point (also covered in The Auroran this week).

On 2 separate occasions staff recommended that Council not become involved in a matter between 2 private parties. Ignoring this advice, Council went ahead and intervened, resulting in incremental costs, some which will likely be shared by the broader Aurora tax base.

More importantly, it also sets a new precedent that indicates that Council is willing to step outside its own stated policies and get involved in areas that should rightly be left up to the private parties to resolve.

Is Council sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong, or is their involvement in these areas appropriate? What are your thoughts? Let us know!

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9 Responses to “Council versus Staff Roles”

  1. Anonymous said

    The CAO advertisement is just part of the procedure TCYA. I don’t think it would surprise anyone if someone has been standing in the wings for the last half year. I agree with the 2nd last post but someone with our Mayor’s Human Resources background has already looked after this for all of us. Don’t be surprised if the new CAO is female.

  2. Anonymous said

    The article in yesterday’s Era-Banner quoted Mayor Morris praising all of the new development in Aurora, and how people are flocking to our town. Maybe a few of them will apply for some of these vacant positions.

  3. Anonymous said

    No recruitment firm for the CAO’s position?!
    Who makes that decision?
    Isn’t there a recruitment policy for that level of position?
    How in the world are we going to cast a net wide enough to get the best possible candidates?
    How are they going to be “professionally” vetted?
    Is this the Mayor’s way of trying to ‘save’ money because of the feedback of her disregard of costs for legal fees?
    Any municipal employee in the GTA won’t come near us with the proverbial barge pole.

  4. Anonymous said

    This council, with Mayor and her loyal flock continue to stick their noses where they do not belong. How many staff have left in the past two years? How many well trained staff are now working for other communities where the mayor and council actually appreciate their skills? Who’s next to be led out or move to another community?
    Let the professional Town staff do their jobs.

  5. Anonymous said

    From Ms. Morris' Website biography.
    "Her many years of business experience have included running her own retail & consulting companies in England and Canada. Phyllis also worked in the Human Resources field for more than 10 years recruiting and coordinating staffing for new plant start-ups, in the automotive & food retail industries, in both North America & Europe." Either this experience is really a stretch bordering on fiction or she is incompetant. Either way, her impact on HR and staff relations for the Town of Aurora, has been nothing short of disastrous. Check out the ad next week for the next CAO (sucker). No placement firm involved, just Phyllis and Town staff. Any bets how long this poor sap will last?

  6. Anonymous said

    I have noticed a couple mentions that Mayor Morris has a background in HR. I think a closer check of her background, including her own website, would suggest her professional qualifications are in fact as follows;

    Phyllis holds a Law Enforcement Diploma (High Honours) From Seneca College, King City, and was Valedictorian in 1995, receiving the Tony Fuelling Memorial Award. She graduated in August 2003 from Seneca College as a Court and Tribunal Agent (Paralegal).

    It is my understanding that the vague mention of HR experience was primarily working for her husband.

    I could be wrong, I am sure she would be happy to clarify.

    I am not convinced any of her work experience has prepared her for the role she has been elected to fulfil.

    Performance to date would seem to support that notion, but time will tell.

  7. Anonymous said

    To the anonymous poster above – who said that Councillor Buck was retired for the most part – I have been in Aurora for 40 years and I only ever knew her as a politician and she isn’t retired yet. That’s one retirement party that won’t likely happen for a long time – she must be 25 years past retirement! Good on her!

  8. Anonymous said

    This is another case of the Mayor pandering to the squeaky wheel to garner support.

    The staff resources that are being spent on pet projects of the Mayor’s should also be part of any disclosure of ‘costs’.

    Although disclosure of anything with this council is it’s own hot topic.

    The cost/benefit to the town’s finances for the Canadian Tire issue, is all cost to the town. No benefit to the tax-payers as a whole.

    It is a private matter, and when you watch the council meeting, and listen to Councillor McRoberts ‘do the math’, the residents of the Mosaics could have also saved themselves some money.

    If Mayor Morris and Councillor MacEachern actually stopped to look at EVERY side of the issue – instead of reacting to the political opportunism of every issue – perhaps they could have helped the residents work out the math for themselves?

    Instead, they plow ahead with their own agenda, and their sheep follow the herd by voting ‘the path of least resistance’.

    When will this Mayor show some real leadership and think of the greater good of our whole community?

    When will she take fiscal responsibility for HER actions?

    Take a walk down Yonge Street and see the shabby, vacant lots that need attention. It’s shameful.

    Maybe Mayor Morris should spend some of her time and energy on attracting development to those areas of town that could broaden our tax-base.

  9. Anonymous said

    Council sticking their noses where they do not belong is not new nor is it an Aurora Council thing. However, it seems that Aurora Council (the Mayor primarily) think that they know more than the staff which are, like it or not, are professionals in their fields.

    How would Mayor Morris feel if she was working for a company where she was the HR manager and they brought in someone that would override every one of her decisions on hiring or firing? It is exactly what this council is doing.

    The same can be said for most of the council members. To be honest, I am not sure of what the professions are of most council members. I know what McRoberts does (a teacher); Buck (retired for the most part); and Morris (HR person).

    I think these people should take a good look at what they are doing to the staff at Town Hall. If they do not think that they are the cause, they are mistaken.

    It would be interesting what the “exit” interviews are like for these people. I trust that the Town does exit interviews, it is only good HR practice to do so.

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