Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

What’s Up With Integrity?

Posted by auroracitizen on July 4, 2009

Councillor Buck confirmed in her recent post that a contract with the Integrity Commissioner was finally signed on June 18. Council has not issued this news.

A review of the town website on July 4 offers the following contradictions.

On the Code of Conduct page it states, “The complaint must be in writing accompanied by an affidavit witnessed by a commissioner of oath, which sets out the evidence in support of the complaint. Once the complaint is submitted, it will be provided to the Integrity Commission for review and investigation.”

However, in the page for the Integrity Commissioner it states, “Members of the public with a question or concern can approach the Councillor directly and/or integrity commissioner by phone with any concerns related to the behaviour of a Councillor, for grounds noted in the Municipal Act and referenced on the web-site. These questions, complaints and inquiries need not be written or in affidavit form, nor is there a fee for such a query. There will be a response, acknowledgement or resolution within three days.”

So why does the Town insist on a sworn affidavit, while the Integrity Commissioner clearly states no affidavit is required and no fees are involved?

Why does the Town page indicate that Council vets first before sending to the Integrity Commissioner?

Finally, why has no official word been released about the contract being signed, or why it has taken since Nov 25, 2008 to get this contract signed.

As usual, one must wonder about what is going on at Town Hall. Now that there is finally an Integrity Commissioner in place, it will be interesting to see how his services are used.

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10 Responses to “What’s Up With Integrity?”

  1. Anonymous said

    With all of this fighting (which sounds like a group of children over lost marbles) are the needs of Aurora being met???? My goodness, I think I will take a long look at the requirements to run for council- as my parents taught me don't criticize unless you can do a better job. But surely, I would not get mired in the mud like this town council appears to be.
    When council takes out ads to criticize a councillor- I think something is wrong with the democratic system- do not take that comment as support for said councillor either, but I think next November the whole council should be turfed as they clearly do not have the interests of the Town of Aurora as their first priority -just think the council of the Town of Aurora could become the poster child for DYSFUNCTIONAL!

  2. Anonymous said

    Great quotes Richard.

    Here's one more. It goes soemthing like this:

    The truth is an incredible thing. No matter how deep you try to bury it – it will always come to the surface. No matter how much you twist it – it is resilient. And no matter how many times you tell a lie – it never becomes the truth.

    I don't who wrote it. But I do know it's very fitting to the times.

    As a society we are facing a crisis of confidence. Weapons of Mass Destruction and the war on Iraq. The financial meltdown, banks that won't lend to each other because they're not "credit worthy". Bernie Madoff. Mounties who kill an unarmed Polish man at the Vancouver Airport … etc, etc.

    Remember – it can never become the truth.

  3. Richard Johnson said

    Hey Hugo, no worries. Being on the Mayor's Christmas card list isn't all it's cracked up to be. Trust me.

    Like a growing list of people, I have more than enough experience and documentation to justify my own frustration with regards to our town council but trying to hold anyone accountable around here is clearly a full time job for concerned residents, with or without legal assistance.

    I'd also like to note that irrespective of the fact that we may agree or disagree on any particular issue, I appreciate that some people have enough integrity to sign their name to their postings as opposed to those anonymous defenders of the status quo who may in fact be the status quo for all we know.

    No matter what side of any fight we may be on we are not alone in our local trials. Here are a few more quotes for the readers of Aurora Citizen to ponder…

    "The better the character, the better the government." – Aristotle, Politics, Book VIII.
    Note: What does that say about our council ? Hmmmm, it does make you wonder.

    "Men’s happiness or misery is [for the] most part of their own making."- John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, No. 1

    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb." ~ Benjamin Franklin. Note: north of the border I assume we would mean "armed" with the facts.

    "Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be." ~ Sydney J. Harris. Note: Now that is a good question, isn't it ? !

    "Fire, water, and government know nothing of mercy." ~ Proverb. Note: Ain't that the truth ? !

    "If people behaved like governments, you'd call the cops." ~ Kelvin Throop. Note: In Aurora, lawyers will do.

    "It might be more worthwhile if we stopped wringing our hands and started ringing our congressmen." ~Author Unknown, Note: now, now, lest you be tempted, let's be civil.

    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." ~Winston Churchill. Note: you have to love Churchill ! He knew a thing or two about dealing with governments, both good and bad.

    "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage." ~H.L. Mencken. Note: never has any quote been more true than this one being applied in Aurora !

  4. Hugo T. Kroon said

    I love it when people do my job for me…
    The whole issue here is how people try to interpret things to fit the views they already hold, without ever letting things like the reality, truth or the facts get in the way.
    If "Aurora Citizen" would read just a bit further in the quoted pages, he/she would find that the difference pointed out does exist, just As I said.
    But you, like your favorite councilor can go misinterpeting things anyway you fancy.
    Even if it ain't right, as long as it sheds a bad light on the mayor, you're happy.
    And don't you dare interpret that as a vindication or approval of the mayor's conduct, she and I are anything but freinds…

    I'm still not on her Christmas list.

    P.S: To Anonymous July 6, 2009 5:41 PM…

    Thanks Mom!

  5. Anonymous said

    I must say I love reading what Hugo T. Kroon contributes.
    Not a citizen of Aurora? Pity.

  6. Aurora Citizen said

    Dear Hugo, if you had continued to read the entire quoted material posted on the blog you would have read "These questions, complaints and inquiries need not be written or in affidavit form, nor is there a fee for such a query. There will be a response, acknowledgement or resolution within three days."

    This specifies a complaint without need for an affidavit or a fee.

  7. Hugo T. Kroon said

    It's no wonder you guys are screwed up.

    If the poster of this latest attempt to "cleanup the mess" over there in Aurora actually read all of the sources he/she is citing, he/she might actually start to make sense.

    "On the Code of Conduct page it states, "The complaint must be in writing accompanied by an affidavit witnessed by a commissioner of oath, which sets out the…"

    This bit refers to a "COMPLAINT"

    "However, in the page for the Integrity Commissioner it states, "Members of the public with a question or concern can approach the Councillor directly and/or integrity commissioner by phone with any concerns related to the behaviour of a Councillor…"

    This bit pertains to a "QUESTION OR CONCERN"

    Even I (who really has no vested interest in the mechinations of the actual government in Aurora) took the time to read the "Integrity Commisioner" page and took note of the "attached decision tree", which pointed out the difference between the two.

    It's that simple.

    All you got to do is read it. Oh, yeah and possess the basic ability to understand it.

    Apparently that's what's missing for this poster.

    No wonder you are supporting and have the support of Buck. She doesn't understand most of what she reads either.

    Especcially the Municipal Act.

    Which is not surprising, considering she still thinks the job of a councilor is to make decisions using her own "wealth of experience" regardless of what the citizens want…

    You poor, poor buggers… can November 2010 come any sooner?

    And my dear, dear poor deluded self-important Evelyn, here is yet another opportunity for your next feeble attempt to make fun of my name. If that's what excites you, by all means, be my guest.
    But I hope you do realize, it says a lot more about you than me.

    And keep this in mind would you? The principal reason mayor Morris has had to aquire the services of this so-called "Integrity Commissioner", all that high priced legal advice, and numerous over priced and under performing outside consultants is in large part a result of the outlandish and childish antics of some of the councilors, who in the real world would know better than to act the way they do.
    So in reality, you have no one to blame but yourself.
    You started the fire, you fanned the flames, you hung the pot, and now you find yourself in it along with a bunch of greasy vegetables.
    And you want sympathy for the predicament you find yourself in?

    No, madame, you deserve no such thing.
    But what the people of Aurora deserve is an apology.

    From you.

    Which, from where I sit, I can see that it will probably never come.
    Because you will never admit you have done anything wrong.
    It's not in you.

    And that's sad.

    Now don't think I'm on the Mayor's side.
    I'm not.
    It's just that I believe she's probably trying to make Aurora a better place.
    She and her friends.
    Or at least some of them were trying, until you scared them away.
    The problem is that Madame Mayor is also afflicted with the same "it's all about me syndrome" that you are. But in her defence she dosen't have it as bad as you do.
    But again, the people of Aurroa suffer.

    It is to weep.

    And as the good people of Aurora suffer so does the concept of good governance.

    And all of us who believe in that lofty and yet most desired goal suffer also.

    So I weep with them.

  8. Anonymous said

    Anonymous July 4 5:45 wrote:
    "You might think that a councillor is difficult to understand, or is not a frequent speaker, but I have useful interactions with those councillors and I appreciate them, and I voted for them. Hence you are demeaning and them."
    You could say the same for the Harris Tories. Also, are you condoning Steven Granger actions when questioned at the Local Canadian Tire by an Auroran rate payer inquring about the appointment of John Gallo. You know the " the subject is too complex for you to understand" one.
    Get real. Phyllis Morris used the very same approach to get her name front and centre using similar actions.Cable show, and newspaper columnist. Just ask John West or Tim Jones if she was the poster child for "working cooperatively".
    What goes around comes around.

  9. Evelyn Buck said

    The last comment appears to be from a well-meaning, sincere individual who understands why the Mayor and five councillors need to keep spending taxpayers' money on lawyers to “legally test” the right to free speech of councillors who fail to fall into line with the majority.

    It provides insight into the justification as relayed to a trusting constituent.Apparently, the point has been reached where it is essential to deal “legally” with a pesky nuisance of a councillor who insists on telling people what is or is not said and done in the hallowed halls of council complete with her slant on the issue.

    The forces are mustered The spin is out.

    The tried and tested tradition of public debate between elected persons is not for this “modern” crop of politicians. Oh Dear me ..no.

    Staff need to be cued by the Mayor to contribute pure and unadulterated advice into the process .

    Council needs to go behind closed doors.

    Lawyers need to be retained at currently unknown cost to “investigate” a councillor's public statements made verbally and in writing.

    Conference with council at $5,000 a pop and write twenty-three pages of verbiage at $1,000. a page, for their guidance. After telling said councillor ,she might be in trouble with the law if she stays to hear what he has to say.

    Anonymous contributors to a Blog are marshaled to provide an obviously approved line of double-speak . It needs to be civil .

    And they all live happily ever after. Ya think!!!

  10. Anonymous said

    My issue is with the acceptance of political gamesmanship.
    I watch the waste of money and goodwill.
    The two go together. The greater the goodwill quotient in a community the greater the money savings with "community watch" or "community building".

    For Aurora to flourish we need people who are willing to work cooperatively.
    I can't hope to thoroughly understand all the issues discussed in the Bill Hogg and Evelyn Buck blogs.
    Instead, I react to the lack of respect for council that one councillor justifies as "freedom of speech".
    I would be interested in a factual, persuasive debate.

    I cannot abide the constant use of personal derogatory judgments made about the mayor and most of the councillors.
    The tone set by this approach to "freedom of speech" upsets me.
    You might think that a councillor is difficult to understand, or is not a frequent speaker, but I have useful interactions with those councillors and I appreciate them, and I voted for them. Hence you are demeaning and them.

    I have difficulty with a councillor having no restrictions on her behavior. Any person on any job has restrictions.
    What is professional?
    I believe Councillor Buck has crossed the line.
    She pushed the envelope.
    Now the only recourse is to do so through the legal system.
    It is courageous of this mayor and council to seek legal clarity.
    I want elected officials (at all levels of government) to be held to a high standard of professionalism.
    I want this tested legally for future council accountability.

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