Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Frustrated, Aurora Annie talks politics

Posted by auroracitizen on February 28, 2009

Dick Illingworth has long been a student of politics in this community. He has served and contributed to this community longer than many have lived here. He has recently been away from his regular role because of illness, but we are so glad to see him back. Agree or disagree, Dick is passionate about this town.

Following is a column by Dick Illingworth reprinted in its entirety from the Auroran. As always, Dick raises a number of issues worthy of discussion. We thought readers may wish to comment.

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“Where have you been my Dickie-Boy, my Dickie-Boy, where have you been, my Dickie-Boy?” Aurora Annie sang as I approached her hidden burrow beside the Community Arboretum pathway, just west of the Town Hall.

“I was waiting to give you my traditional annual report on Groundhog Day about affairs in Aurora and the region but understand you were taking a rest at the Southlake Regional Health Centre Resort.”

“Okay, Annie, let’s have it, what have you heard from the closed sessions of Aurora Council and what’s the latest from the region,” I asked. “I’d love to tell you what I heard.

Councillors say and do behind those closed doors as I have in the past but I can’t as those celebrity groundhogs Wiarton Willie and Punxsutawaney Phil forced through a Code of Conduct for the members of the Groundhog Day Association, but my women’s intuition tells me we’re in trouble.

“During this term of office a valued member of council, Grace Marsh, resigned, which is very unusual for an elected member of council.

“Then all department heads except the Director of Leisure Services resigned or retired and worst of all, the Chief Administrative Officer was dismissed for unknown reasons.

“John Rogers was an excellent choice for the CAO as he was a lawyer by profession, served as Mayor of Georgina and CAO of East Gwillimbury before coming to Aurora. He was also active in many community organizations and agencies,” Annie continued. “Then there was the disbandment of the Special Events Committee under questionable circumstances which have never been made known and this was the council that promised open and transparent government.

“This council has held more in-camera meetings than possibly any council in the history of the municipality and very few issues discussed or decisions made are ratified in open session or, if so, with no details.

“Before that the Yonge Street Sub-Committee which introduced the Farmer’s Market was also disbanded with no reasons given,” Annie said. “Citizens should be up in arms as delegations at council meetings or asking questions at Open Forum and demanding answers. Where are the active ratepayer groups of the old days or have citizens just given up in disgust?” Annie asked.

“You get the government you deserve by the way you vote, but this is getting ridiculous!” she shouted in anger.

“Another thing that makes me mad is the members of regional council don’t seem to care what happens to taxpayers’ money. Just recently at a Transportation and Works Committee meeting when additional funds of approximately 30 per cent were requested for projects running above budget and this is a common occurrence,” Annie said. “It would seem that some of the new commissioners are having problems keeping projects on budget. I think I mentioned it to you before about the number of senior regional staff who have left the region to seek other employment with two coming to Aurora with no questions asked by the sheep-like regional councillors.

“At a time when the country and local municipalities, including the region, are in turbulent economic times and require belt tightening, the region was considering a $1 billion capital budget. Don’t council members think of the taxpayer once in a while?” Annie asked.
Before I had a chance to comment, Annie pointed out that over the years it was said that in order to attract better politicians at all levels of government, it was necessary to pay a decent salary.

“The public is now paying a decent level of salary, but the majority of politicians are just feeding at the public trough,” she argued.

“The public deserves better behaviour from its politicians,” she said, “and to steal your old tag line, ‘That’s the way I see it, I’m Aurora Annie.’”

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2 Responses to “Frustrated, Aurora Annie talks politics”

  1. Grace Marsh said

    I was just surfing back in the blog checking out some the new comments and got a little “start” when I came back to this one. I heard the news yesterday morning of Dick’s passing and this seems like a fitting place to express my sincere sadness over this monumental loss, not only for his family, but for this entire Town. Rest in Peace, Dick. You will be missed.

  2. Anonymous said

    Interesting points made by Mr. Illingsworth. In the local papers we continually read letters to the editor criticizing Municipal, Provincial or Federal Politicians, but rarely do we see anything about Regional Government. The result as stated is a level of Government with no concept of spending within its limit or worse no idea that we are in a deep and damaging recession. Always allowing projects to go over costs and then coming back for more and agreeing to it without asking questions clearly indicates this group of (Regional)politicians is clearly clueless and must be dealt with. Perhaps a trip back to private life would be in order for this sorry lot.

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