Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Financial Accountability

Posted by auroracitizen on July 12, 2009

Legal expenditures on this Council have been significant. And those are just the ones that are easily identified. It seems the current Council has spent more than their fair share of our tax dollars on legal issues that have less to do with the business of running the Town, but have more to do with the manner in which the Council chooses to run it.

Some time ago, former Councillor Kean was forced to use a Freedom of Information request to get expenditures.

More recently Councillor Buck has asked for a breakdown of legal costs — she was denied. She is one of our voices on Council. It is her job to ask questions on our behalf.

Makes one wonder why these numbers are not freely available to the folks who are paying them — you — the taxpayer.

Lawyers are very specific in detailing their bills — project by project, minute by minute, photocopy by photocopy. Why is it so hard to get the financials that this Council has spent this term?

They should all be easily accessible in a file somewhere. Making a photocopy shouldn’t be hard, or time consuming for staff.

Maybe we need another Freedom of Information request?

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38 Responses to “Financial Accountability”

  1. Anonymous said

    "She is a woman on a mission, and that mission is to publicly wage war on two women on council, and anyone whom she deems to be connected to "those two co-mayors"."

    Here's a thought – Who else, besides Evelina and Phyllis and Evelyn ever has an original thought or a really interesting idea? Evelyn has lots. MorMac have lots (honestly)…but the rest of them? Um….

  2. StephanieAllen said

    Everyone is skirting the issue here. I just read the article in today's banner…

    I, as a member of this town, am EXTREMELY DISGUSTED by the GROSS mismanagement of funds by our town council. The sheer enormity of the legal costs in any time, but especially this economic time, is appalling. Especially when the reasons seem to come down to hurt feelings. Or perhaps perceived hurt feelings? I haven't seen anything from a town staff member asking for this, only the mayor and council members. Although I'll allow that there may have been informal conversations. Regardless, using so much of our money is NOT the way to solve these problems.

    AND – I don't believe it's common practice for a mayor to sit with a watchdog lawyer (again – OUR money) constantly going "Ah ah ah! I've got my lawyer's eyes on you!"

    I truly want to know, because I'm not sure how to proceed: Does anyone know if there is anything we can do BEFORE the next election? It is important for our town to stop this NOW, and not over a year from now! What can we do? Does anyone know?

  3. Anonymous said

    Here's the latest in the Buck saga. I don't think she 'maligned' anyone…what's wrong with stating your opinion?

    Read the last line of the legal opinion, about 'this is confidential, yada yada' – yet it's all published. If the Town can do it, why can't Evelyn??

  4. Anonymous said

    Silly one-sided site.
    By design or accidentally?

  5. Anonymous said

    I was just perusing the agenda for tomorrow's council meeting on the Town's website. The agenda is FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY pages LONG.

    How many people get copies? I know the staff have copies at some meetings, and council members EACH get a copy. 8 councillors, one mayor, and say, 5 staffers….that amounts to OVER SIX THOUSAND pages printed/copied/collated, etc.

    My goodness. I can't help but laugh.

  6. Anonymous said

    To La-Di-Da

    AND WHAT DID YOUR SEEING EYE DOG SEE.You must be blind. When I got to the market last Saturday I saw someone else setting up the signs and no sign of grainger nor wilson. They show up when they have to and if the mayor says that it is OK for them to be there.

  7. Anonymous said

    "La-di da".

    I went to Aurora's Farmers' Market and I saw Aurora Community, including the mayor and Wilson and Granger (working very hard).
    That's my Aurora.
    Plus Sher and George St. Kitts doing good work.

    Politicians beware of what ordinary Aurorans desire!

  8. Anonymous said

    This blog is a one-horse-pony show.

  9. Anonymous said

    Yes but what if that REF was a Cheat????

  10. Anonymous said

    Check out the story about the athlete who was fined for posting on twitter that the ref was a cheat, during the game.
    Shouldn't councillors be held to at least that standard?

    Yes we need a code of behavior and yes it needs to be enforced.

  11. Knowledgeable in Aurora said

    I believe that Evelyn very much respects the "office of the Mayor" but each occupant of that office must earn individual personal respect. This current Mayor has not earned her respect, nor mine. They are two different things.

  12. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    For a great laugh, watch the Council meetings that are posted online. But watch the votes with the sound turned off.

    Can you guess who and how many are going to vote with the Mayor?

    How many times are you right?

    It is like watching circus animals perform.

    Ah, I long for the good ole days of Stalin.

  13. Anonymous said

    Frankly I am surprised at Cllr MacEachern. I thought she had more self-worth than what she has shown. She seems okay playing second fiddle in the band — even when the Mayor treats her like a second rate player sent to her dirty work. Not what I expected based o her first term.

  14. Anonymous said

    to July 15th 8:29

    Why would you expect Councillor Buck to respect this Mayor when this mayor has done evvrything from day 1 to try and run Buck out of council with her cronies who always vote with the mayor.
    You have to earn respect and believe me this mayor not earned my respect nor I would say the majority of Aurora residents who watch or know anything about council proceedings. She is pompous and I believe she talks down to most people as does her co-mayor.

  15. Anonymous said

    Anonymous July 15 8:37 said "I find her attitude offensive!

    I pay high taxes, and she's playing childish games, at my expense, while she blames others."

    I find your response particularily
    one sided. After all what former councillor and now Mayor forced council of the day to hire a lawyer at considerable cost to rule on the legality of the off-site orientation meetings and after receiving an unfavourable ruling boycotted the event. Then in her role as Regional Councillor went to theirs. THAT WHOLE EPISODE WAS A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS MONIES.
    What about the recent legal fees spent to clarify the definition of majority. You know the 75% ruling that got another syncophant John Gallo to council. How long did it take her to waive this rule in the Sher St. Kitts hulabaloo. AGAIN TAXPAYERS MONIES WASTED. If these incidents in your mind are irrelevant perhaps the same can be said for your comments!

  16. Evelyn Buck said

    The Mayor's office does not have a legal budget. It was recommended by the Chief Financial Officer during budget discussion of 2008.

    The recommendation was not well received by the Mayor and Councillor MacEachern.
    They directed legal expenditures of the Mayor's office should be included in the corporate legal services budget.

  17. Knowledgeable in Aurora said

    You are absolutely correct (Anonymous July 15 8:38) costs can be allocated to various departments, particularly the Clerk's department if the Town's own legal department is involved, HR if the matter is deemed to be "personnel related", or the Finance department if it's Finance related etc. And, I'm sure the mayor's office has a legal budge. Limiting the report to the CAO's line budget item will not result in a report with full disclosure.

  18. Anonymous said

    Is there a reason why the Council request was specific only to the CAO's office?

    Am I the only one who is concerned that there may be other budgets (i.e. Mayors office, Legal/Corporate Services, HR, etc.) where legal costs are identified that have be avoided?

  19. Anonymous said

    Illustrating Councillor Buck's attitude is her taunting,
    "La-di-da La-di-da", on TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009
    on her blog.

    I find her attitude offensive!

    I pay high taxes, and she's playing childish games, at my expense, while she blames others.

  20. Anonymous said

    Bring respectful discourse into politics.
    Any price will be worth it.

    My problem with Ms. Buck is her total lack of respect for the office of mayor, duly elected.

  21. Anonymous said

    An elected representative has a right to express opinions.
    The nature, tone and spin is what is in need of restrictions.
    We do have a right to civil discussion.

    All organizations have restrictions.

  22. Anonymous said

    An elected Representative has the RIGHT to give their opinion and it is YOUR RIGHT to agree or disagree. It is NOT the Mayor or councils right to take that away from YOU!
    And why do they have the access to use Town monies to fight a political battle. Town money is for TOWN BUSINESS. This is a battle left for the people to choose on ELECTION DAY. This is NOT for them to decide it is for YOU!
    I have not heard of Evelyn getting a lawyer at her expense or the Towns to fight this one. She stands her ground while the others hide behind a lawyer who wants to get paid, and hansomely I might add.

  23. Ron Obvious said

    This town needs an Integrity Commissioner like a pig needs a pearl necklace but at this point one can only hope that council proceeds with a full-blown legal case; the costlier the better. Perhaps then there might be actual media exposure in actual real media. This town and in particular, this council needs a damn hefty dose of complete and total public embarrassment, preferably at the national level but I'll settle for provincial.
    YouTube anyone?
    The juvenile, grade school hairpulling and the off-off-off-way off-Broadway amateur dramatics that define this pathetic excuse of a council (well, that and their inability to agree that night follows day) will provide cheap entertainment to the outside world. If we're lucky after a while the Aurora Joke will get stale and the laughter will die down and maybe that'll let the air out of this collection of pompous twits and they'll shut up and go to work.

  24. Anonymous said

    This mayor and council have worked from day 1 to get rid of councillor Buck. They would be as glad to get rid of Buck as they were not to have a byelection when Grace Marsh resigned.
    What a joke. Bobble head grainger, co-mayor McEachern, Wilson the garbage man, Gallo the unelected and Gaertner the hair stylist.
    What a joke is an understatement.
    Again the mayor and her loyal followers will do the wrong thing.

  25. Anonymous said

    If there are no consequences for Councillor Buck's conduct who will want to run for office?

    Those with such thick skins that they appear to be nonhuman,
    or those with no skin at all.

    There must be rules and regulations, and they must be enforced for the good of all.

  26. Anonymous said

    IF we are to believe that everyone elected to office MUST act in accordance with a code of conduct, then the path that ensures that the code is upheld is a legal one.
    Evelyn Buck wants to test that code of conduct.

    She continues to flaunt the accepted code, every step of the way.

    She is a woman on a mission, and that mission is to publicly wage war on two women on council, and anyone whom she deems to be connected to "those two co-mayors".

    I can't be the only one to observe the obsessive quality of Evelyn Buck's approach to serving on this particular council.
    In a way I'm glad that third party legal opinions will establish boundaries.

    Having no firm examples of boundaries I see what a distraction one relentless councilor can be, undermining the work of council at every turn and fanning the flames of distrust.

    I want it stopped, because her words pumped into the internet presents only one very extreme underbelly of Aurora.
    And that is NOT my Aurora.

  27. Anonymous said

    "I agree with the comment that Evelyn Buck…. should pay for her fun game"

    I disagree. Evelyn's going to say what she thinks, regardless of who likes it or doesn't like it. SO why bother with the legal costs at all? She hasn't done anything illegal. If the council (including the GOS) would just do whatever it was we elected them to do… everyone's life would be a lot easier, no?

    I don't believe Evelyn is looking for approval/disapproval. So let her say what she wants. Let the GOS keep voting in blocks (8 to 1 is never going to be a majority), nothing changes, and everyone can stay calm.

    How hard is that?

  28. Anonymous said

    I agree with the comment that Evelyn Buck, by relishing her ability to push boundaries at our expense, is enjoying herself, and should pay for her fun game of insulting others, seeking attention, and actively undermining the workings of democracy with her warrior cry of "freedom of speech".

    As we all know democracy has its pitfalls.

    Evelyn Buck, with seemingly little else to distract her, pounds away on her computer through the wee hours of the night scheming, spinning and relishing her very special opportunity to thumb her nose at all of us.
    She laughs while we yearn for a civilized, compassionate community.

    She has made a legal intervention the only one possible; and she's enjoying that as in her mind it proves the POWER she has to CONTROL!

  29. Anonymous said

    How is it that keeping you informed and voicing her opinion should cost anyone legal fees. The Mayor and the gang of six are simply playing election without you having a vote in it. Quite simply put they want Evelyn gone and they can't trust the people to do it so they are trying to at your expense!

    FYI They did not hire local lawyers.

  30. Anonymous said

    How much has this mayor cost us in legal fees so far?
    It just keeps getting higher and higher. The local lawyers should be happpy she got elected.

  31. Anonymous said

    and if she is not at fault (for speaking her mind) will the Mayor and her cronies pay???

    You must be a friend of the Mayor… Rules are only one sided in her world and when the rules don't fit her agenda she makes new ones…

  32. Anonymous said

    I think that the whole thing is ridiculous. Yes, Evelyn is strong of opinion… and yes, the GOS don't know how to deal with her… but to say that Evelyn should pay for the legal costs? That's ridiculous. Perhaps She-Who-Hires-The-Lawyers should pay the legal costs?

    Then again, if the majority (aka the GOS) votes for it – then we all get to pay for it. How great is that? Not.

  33. Anonymous said

    Maybe the July 12, 2009 12:43 PM, wasm't from a councilor. Maybe it was from the maligned staff.

  34. Anonymous said

    Methinks Evelyn Buck should have to repay legal costs if she is found to be at fault, having actively pursued her behavior, taking joy in the legal costs incurred BECAUSE of her behavior.
    She wants it; let her pay for it!

  35. Anonymous said

    I wonder who wrote the first comment to this blog. Was it a Councillor? At what point are the other councillors who regularly comment to this blog going to have the xxxxx to comment using their own name. One can only imagine what the interpretation of open and transparentness this council actually has. I don't think that open and transparent has the same meaning for them as it does for the rest of us. But ah yes somethings do change and some do remain the same.

  36. Evelyn Buck said

    Readers will have to go to my Blog to understand why that comment has been made.

    It won't explain it but the source will at least be identified.

  37. Walt said

    In a profound act of irony, we should all band together.

    And sue them.


    i can't believe i'm pining for the tim jones era.

  38. Anonymous said

    As is the norm for some "the sky is blue" and for a select few it is "green"!

    Cut/pasted right from the minutes of Council's last meeting. Notice Councillor Buck voted "YES". Now is cries foul play. Some things never change.

    NO. 09-20

    Council Chambers
    Aurora Town Hall
    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Moved by Councillor Wilson Seconded by Councillor MacEachern

    THAT the Director of Finance and the Town Solicitor prepare a report to Council which indicates, on an issue basis, the totals of the actual year to date and of the projected expenditures for the legal services line under the CAO’s office.

    On a recorded vote the resolution was CARRIED AS AMENDED.

    YEAS: 9 NAYS: 0

    VOTING YEAS: Councillors Buck, Collins-Mrakas, Gaertner, Gallo, Granger,MacEachern, McRoberts, Wilson and Mayor Morris

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