Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Council Declares War on Buck

Posted by auroracitizen on July 26, 2009

For the first time in memory, Aurora Council have declared outright war on another Councillor.

The crime — speaking out against other members of Council. However, Council has wrapped their complaint in the shroud of protecting staff. Hardly!

The Banner reports that “Mayor Phyllis Morris stated the complaint against Councillor Evelyn Buck stems from blog postings, which allegedly make repeated disparaging remarks and allegations about town staff.”

We absolutely agree that staff is off-limits. They are merely executing the policies as set out by Council. Time will tell whether Councillor Buck actually made comments against staff.

Mayor Morris goes on to say “Various sources have made many insinuations about herself and the other members of council, Mrs. Morris said, however, that’s not what the complaint is about. Politicians are aware that sometimes harsh criticism comes with the territory, she said, noting it crossed the line when it targeted the staff.”

Untrue. The CAO specifically called this blog to task — demanding removal of a comment by an anonymous commenter that made disparaging comments about Mayor Morris — with no mention of staff or the corporation.

It was only when the Town Solicitor formalized the complaint in a legal letter that the demand changed to specifically refer to Mayor Morris.

It is also interesting to note how “confidential” this matter is. The Town website indicates; The Commissioner and every person acting under the Commissioner’s direction “shall preserve secrecy”. These requirements are expressly stated to prevail over the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Where a Commissioner provides a periodic report he or she “may summarize advice he or she has given but shall not disclose confidential information that could identify a person concerned.”

Yet a full report is published on the Town website, along with links to the legal opinion letter and Council motion.

It will be interesting to see how much support Council gets from the Integrity Commissioner and how far he is prepared to go on what Councillor Buck can and cannot say.

If they really think this public fight will work in their favour, they grossly under-estimate the fortitude of Councillor Buck. Love her or hate her — history tells us she is always clear on her position and sticks to her principles. Pity the same can’t be said for some of the rest of Council.

Mayor Morris claims “Freedom of speech is a valuable thing in our society, but it does not, however, allow people to call out ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.” “Mrs. Morris was also quick to point out the complaint is by no means an attempt to stifle anyone’s free speech.”

Her claim seems somewhat disingenuous in this context. Attacking another Councillor and a citizen blog site would seem to be exactly intended to stifle comments about her leadership. Not only can you not yell “Fire” in a theatre, apparently you can’t yell “Fire Mayor Morris” in Aurora.

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44 Responses to “Council Declares War on Buck”

  1. Evelyn Buck said

    Within the Town 's web site, The Integrity Commissioner has his own site.
    Everything you always wanted to know about the Office is there.It's not complicated. It is clear and succinct. The ability to read and comprehend is the only skill required.
    Residents may call the Commissioner and pose questions. It's a service covered by the retainer fee.
    Investigations and all attendant costs carry a fee of $125. per hour.
    That's a fraction of the cost for retaining a lawyer.
    The difference is a lawyer can be told what is expected of him by the client.
    The Integrity Commissioner has authority to exercise his own judgement.
    Which would include whether or not a complaint has been made in good faith and is not political in nature.

  2. Grace Marsh said

    Dear Anon 7/29 7:34 am.

    "Thousands of dollars" were NOT spent to get rid of me. However, for various reasons, I felt (feared) that may happen, so I resigned before that waste could happen.

  3. Richard Johnson said

    I respect that we are all entitled to our own political views but how anyone can come close to comparing Frank Klees and Phyllis Morris is totally beyond me. Irrespective of the fact that I may agree or disagree on any given policy issues with either person, you have to respect Frank Klees as a capable man of integrity. At least he backs up his views with understandable and well researched logic and he is clearly not disingenuous or manipulative. You can't say the same for Mayor Morris.

    What we are witnessing our current Council is more of the same back stabbing and petty politics that the electorate in the last election tried to expel and that stands in stark contrast with the loyalty and integrity that Frank Klees has brought to his party, even when he begged to disagree on any given policy with his fellow party members. There is no comparison !

  4. Anonymous said

    Leave Klees a MPP.

  5. Anonymous said

    To Anon 3:45 who said "You sound like a total fool if you do like the politics of Frank Klees. I have had the honour of meeting him and Morris couldn't even tie his shoe laces."

    So you don't like Frank Klees and you think Morris is lower than he is? I think I'm misunderstanding. Huh?

  6. Anonymous said

    Anon 3:45 you are a perfectly scary example of why literacy is important, and why Aurora is a scary place.

    Ignorant doorknobs like you have made all the bad decisions in history.

    Read Brent's comment again. And again. And again. If you still don't get it, go away.

  7. Anonymous said

    Buck is being investigated because she made serious allegations against staff. Has anyone given any thought as to "are the allegations warranted"?

    I think Buck's comments revolved around the minutes of the May 12 meeting. They weren't accurate or something like that. The required vote wasn't the required 2/3 majority.

    Did the lawyer check into this? If not, why not?

    If Buck's allegations are found to be true, then she's probably still guilty of criticizing staff, but the Town has a much bigger credibility problem and investigating Buck won't solve it.

  8. Anonymous said

    How did the town "waste thousands of dollars just to get rid of Grace Marsh"? (Anon 7:34 am)

  9. Anonymous said

    We could use more Brents in Aurora.
    I totally see your point Brent.

  10. Anonymous said

    You sound like a total fool if you do like the politics of Frank Klees. I have had the honour of meeting him and Morris couldn't even tie his shoe laces. He is a politicain she is a want to be politician.
    But that is OK Brent stick your head back in the sand and come up for air every year for one minute.

  11. Anonymous said

    I only WISH we could encourage Frank Klees to run. We need his professionalism, tact, diplomacy, respectful common sense approach and his inteligence. I encourage anyone who knows Frank in this community to tell him we need him…FAST, while there's still something to salvage! Stop the insanity!

  12. Brent said

    Clearly you must be someone who's never met Frank Klees.

    His intellect makes Gaertner resemble Proust.

    Otherwise, you make good points.

  13. Anonymous said

    Anyone who is defending this mayor and councils offensive stand must be living with rainbow glasses on.
    Come on people, from day 1 this mayor and council has demoralized the town staff by trying to micro manage a professional staff. The staff normally is hired by past merit to do a good job and in most cases they have. They do not mind any councillor coming to them for information nor do they mind if they are questioned about a decision that was presented to council. Councillor Buck has done this and even questioned the spending of St Kitts ( the mayor's friend) without getting any support from the lost followers ( councillors) who only do what they are allowed to do after asking Morris if it is OK.
    This mayor has embarressed the town and wasted thousands of dolloars just to get rid of Grace Marsh and now Buck.
    In what could have been a good council the opposite has happened.
    Even McRoberts who had all of the votes and deputy mayor status has failed this town.Instead McEachren has become the co-mayor.Other than Allison the rest should quit now or be embarressed during the next election.
    Grainger, Wilson, Gallo, Gaertner are all over their heads and unable to make a decision if the answer dropped into their laps.
    These reasons have all led to this declaration of war against Buck.
    The answer is FRANK KLEES for mayor.

  14. Anonymous said

    Isn't a rape victim's identity protected unless the victim chooses to make it public then it is public.

  15. Anonymous said

    Yeah I voted for Buck, but if she violates the Code of Conduct, she's got to pay the price.

    She does the crime she pays the fine… 90 day salary deduction.

    It's happened to greater and lesser people.

    Yup no one is above the law.

    Just like Conrad Black. He said he was being unjustly targeted, ready to sue.

    He played it all out but in the end a court of law that found he wasn't as pure as newly fallen snow.

    Just saying..

  16. Anonymous said

    Let's deal with the reality that all of our positions are going to be tested through this process.

    The facts will be evaluated… more facts, more context than any of us have: singly, or in a small sub-group.

    Which PART of the elephant are you looking at when you give your definition of an elephant?

    A third party, the Integrity Commissioner, has access to many pieces of the puzzle…many more than we do, collectively or alone.

    I know he's going to describe the elephant better than we can.

  17. Richard Johnson said

    No one has ever justified or explained the logic behind the apparent double standard I pointed out some time ago, but I guess selective hearing and a selective interpretation of the facts is what politics is all about, especially in this town. Quite frankly I lost faith in our Council to make well informed and professional decisions a long time ago but this latest self inflicted fiasco is beyond belief !

    Mayor Morris and Council were copied on less than professional or civil e-mails sent by Councillor MacEchern to me on more than one occasion for the very simple reason that she did not agree with my viewpoint on the power supply issue. The fact that she and Mayor Morris appeared to be confused by the facts as well as the history of the power supply issue is one point that is beyond reasonable explanation, but their behaviour is quite another and I don't see anyone on Council holding them accountable to the same high standard that they seem to set for others.

    Why one Councillor is now being singled out while others are being left unchallenged is highly suspect if you ask me, but once again, quite in character.

    We were promised a new approach to local government, which most voters clearly wanted, but I for one did not expect that meant more of the same back room manipulation, back stabbing and ineptitude with a added twist of legal action.

  18. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    As in all politics, you spin an issue to suit your needs. I see this as nothing more than the Mayor continuing to try and get all of her little ducklings to fall in line behind her. Well, one of those ducklings continues to thumb her nose at Mother Duck…..

    Was the St. Kitts in council a setup to get the ball rolling, could be. My thought is that it was. Nothing more came out of the “on camera complaint” as far as I can tell. No further information was provided by the parade lady, no numbers were provided and now she has stepped down so is no longer accountable. So nothing new on that front.

    Madame Buck won’t sign the “Code of Conduct”, Madame Mayor will not stop trying to get her to conform. In the letter published on the town’s website from “council” states that the code of conduct complaint was made due to:

    “Councilor Buck’s publications contravened numerous provisions of the Council Code of Conduct, which included unfounded and completely unmerited public criticism of staff in a manner that unjustifiably maligned their professional competence and credibility. “

    It states on the town’s website under “Formal Complaint Procedure” that

    “A Member Council, Town staff or member of the public who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a Member of Council or Advisory Committee has contravened the Code of Conduct, may request that the matter, or complaint be reviewed.”

    So, if the town staff is so upset by the blog postings made by Madame Buck, why did they not file the complaint themselves?

    Why did council feel that it is their job to file on the behalf of town staff at such a cost to the people of Aurora?

    Why is Madame Mayor spending the people of Aurora’s money on continuing legal fees in this battle with Madame Buck?

    Why have we heard nothing more from St. Kitts regarding her complaint?

    Why has Madame Mayor not given the apology asked of her by Madame Buck on camera in council?

    So many Why’s in Aurora……

    Maybe we can get George to put on a concert to raise legal funds for the town? Oh Sorry, “awareness”.

  19. Anonymous said

    Why is there no forum on the TOWN website where we can offer feedback? I have a lot to say on this issue, but I'm leary to use my name for many reasons. Am I looking in the wrong places online?

  20. Anonymous said

    Evelyn Buck chose to advertise that a complaint had been lodged against her under the Code of Conduct bylaw.
    If she hadn't published that it would have been confidential.

    Her approach seems to be that she can reveal what she wants, leaving others at a disadvantage.

    If she is the one complained about and she wants to take it public, she can't complain when the other side publishes their side.

    As someone else on this blog suggested" what's good for the goose IS good for the gander."

    Or… live by the sword, die by the sword.

  21. Anonymous said

    Its kind of ironic thst Morris wrapped her complaint against Buck using the line that staff was offended.I'm sure over the last fifteen years the number of staff slagged/offended/pissed off by Morris far far exceeds the number in Bucks ledger. When you add Regional staff the numbers with a bone to pick with Morris would look like the line outside the Mandarin on July 1!!

  22. Robert the Bruce said

    I find it humourous that the Town website has an ad on it proclaiming that it is "Bullfrog" powered.

    I think they used the wrong word there, they are "Bulls**t" powered.


  23. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    "Perhaps it was because Buck chose to waive confidentiality when she published the letter that Morris sent to her. But I am just guessing."

    She never published the letter that Morris sent to her, she published her reply to Morris.

  24. Anonymous said

    The legal opinion posted by the Town of Aurora states that council has the legal right to waive confidentiality of its communications between itself and its lawyer on the Buck matter.

    Council obviously elected to waive that confidentiality. I have no idea why. Perhaps it was because Buck chose to waive confidentiality when she published the letter that Morris sent to her. But I am just guessing.

    At any rate, it does seem that Buck wants confidentiality to apply when it serves her purposes. Curiously, to justify her position she cites the Code of Conduct and Integrity Process, which she herself has vehemently refused to support.

    Why would Buck care that a complaint against her has become public? Maybe I’ve missed something, but I always thought she took pride in publicly rebuking her foes – the more public, and the more often, the better.

    Why suddenly does she complain about a lack of confidentiality? Hard to believe that Evelyn Buck would want to transact public business in secret.

    Maybe the current process will help us understand that in the end as well.

  25. My Kinda Town said

    Like I said before.


  26. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous 8:27

    You live in a rainbow room.How can you say that you are looking forward to the integrity commissioner report when it has to be enforced by this bunce of cowardly councillors who hide behind the mayor's lawyers.
    This would be good stuff for a prime time reality show where no one wins especially the residents of Aurora.
    It would be great to see this mayor resign and maybe her co-mayor as well.
    FRANK KLEES for Mayor looks great. A real politician as mayor would be great.

  27. Anonymous said

    "because he is an unbiased third party who is not involved with the various groups in Aurora"

    Depends on who gets to him first, no??

  28. Anonymous said

    Lots of missing pieces. The "Nitkin dude" obviously has documentation dealing with staff issues.
    That information is not yet public.

    Once again there really is no point in speculation when a legal process is in motion.
    I'm quite content to wait for that process to conclude.
    Only then will information (as opposed to twisted propaganda) be available to us.

    It becomes more clear to me every day that following through on this issue, as a legal process, is an important democratic imperative.

    $ spent to ensure justice is served.
    Sometimes democracy is messy and expensive.
    I'd rather that than half-truths, name-calling and

    Every day there are leaks and rumors.

    I look forward to the Integrity Commissioner's findings because he is an unbiased third party who is not involved with the various groups in Aurora who exploit issues as currency for the next election.

  29. Anonymous said

    There is trouble in this Town's politics and it starts with Morris.

  30. Anonymous said

    Here's my take on it (and I'm sure I'll be missing steps) – but the whole Dream Team/July 1 parade idea was in the works…there were fundraisers, etc..

    The town gave some $ to St Kitts and her Dream Team to help fund the parade. Then the Town (through Evelyn Buck) asked to see the 'proof' that the fundraising was done properly, etc…

    No proof was provided, either because the whole thing was a scam and the money was raised and spent by someone that should have known better – or….I don't know what option 2 is..because the team in question simply DID not bring the information forward. Either the Dream team was just a 'dreamy' idea or someone has a pocket full of money.

    Evelyn wrote a bunch of blogs asking "What's up with this?", and asking for answers. St Kitts came to council and called Evelyn some names…

    Evelyn blogged about the name calling and briefly touches on the 'what about the money', issue, again. The 'code of conduct' is waved in Evelyn's face because she's writing 'bad things' about people who say bad things about her.

    Evelyn asks "how much $ has the town spent on legal fees since Mayor Phyllis Lawyer-Morris got elected?" Evelyn is told she'll have a report soon. Then the GOS move a motion that no, Evelyn can't have the report. Evelyn tallies about $300k in legal fees for this term. The Mayor says "absolutely not" but doesn't give a tally. The tally is provided. Evelyn's number isn't far off.

    So the integrity commisioner is called. I pity this Nitkin dude.

    What did I miss?

  31. Anonymous said

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” -Earnest Benn

  32. Anonymous said

    Will you still support him once he starts submitting his invoices? Hey…if you can't lead and work with people, establish a Code of Ethics that cant be enforced. It's all leadershiop folks and there's a HUGE lack at the top. Incompetence is what I call it. It's as simple as that.

  33. Anonymous said

    Many interpretations about the Code of Conduct are presented here.
    That's why we are now exploring the code using lawyers.
    That's how our society works.

    We have laws, rules, regulations, and we have a legal system to establish the boundaries required for democracy to flourish.

    I don't understand Councillor Buck's point of view but I do believe the Town must establish a Code of Conduct and enforce it.
    As with many situations legal expenditures must be made to establish, and enforce a new code.
    The code has no value unless it is enforced.

    I understand Councillor Buck, from its inception, has challenged, and continues to challenge the Code of Conduct, and I fully support the Town's use of the Integrity Commissioner to establish the validity of the code, for the benefit of all of Aurora's citizens.

  34. Anonymous said

    The CODE is FOR ALL Members. Evelyn's letter was not confidential and she did not post the one that came from the Mayor and her minions, they did. She was the one who kept her letter open for all to see! She is not hiding and now one has to wonder which codes did they adhear to?

    So who are you to judge if someone takes a break enjoys his family and you see know new postings?

  35. Anonymous said

    yes integrety is important

    But the Mayor accuses someone of not following the rules when she herself breaks them all the time to suit her needs and wants……

    Also it is obvious that the co-mayors can not read or just plain do not understand how the code of conduct works, complaints are to be confidential ( not postng it on the town website and reading it on camrea at council…)

    Once again rules only apply in Aurora to everyone else but the Co-Mayors and thier merry band of followers….

  36. Anonymous said

    "To anonymous of 5:31 – which councillor are you?"

    I am not a councillor.
    You want to dismiss my voice by calling me a councillor, because you disagree with my reading of the situation.
    There are obvious problems with trying to discount rational views with which you disagree.

    There are obvious problems with denying the voices of citizens of Aurora who are not elected, but expect those who are, to conduct themselves as respectful, community-minded representatives of our community.

    This site professes to be a forum for Aurora citizens.

    There are citizens who do not agree with the positions taken on this blog and we will let you know we're tuned in.

    We are not councillors but we are informed.
    We do care about our community and we are in full support of enforcing a Code of Conduct for those who are elected to represent us.

  37. Anonymous said

    It will be interesting to see how then newest member of the Mayor Minor brigade, the Integrity Commissioner, will deal with this one.
    To anonymous of 5:31 – which councillor are you? It is quite apparent you know so much. Evelyn does not have to take responsiblity for some crap that you idiots decided to creat. Why don't you take responsibility by publishing your name? In my opinion the six of you are utterly gutless. I am signing anonymous just to get to you and it doesn't take much apparently. Have a good evening.

  38. Anonymous said

    I have to say I am certain you people who claim not to read Evelyn's blog certainly did your homework. What a pile of crap! You can blame blame blame Evelyn but you will never ever silence her unless you take it that one step further. If she infuriates you as you seem to spell out in the previous comments I say go for it Evelyn stir the pot till it boils over. These people can't take the critism that is about to be heaped on them. If Evelyn is Snow White I will gladly be one of here seven followers. Let's face this head on together.

  39. Heather said

    To Anonymous who commented "12 days with no postings on this site"… I don't see what that has to do with anything…

    And… I don't understand what all the flack is about 'bias'. Everyone has one. I wouldn't post things that I didn't like. Same as how I don't eat foods I don't like. What's the big deal?

    As Evelyn said in a recent blog of her own… (I'm paraphrasing) if you don't like it, why do you read it?

  40. Anonymous said

    "Declares war"…. sounds like an Evelyn Buckism.
    Just like Evelyn Buck, the freedom fighter.
    Oops no, she's Snow White, all pure and innocent.

  41. Anonymous said

    Morris says that Freedom of Speech is important but only if the comments do not upset her or say something negative against her. She says that it is to protect staff. I know that Councillor Buck is respected by most of our staff other than those who were hired by her to replace the staff that quit.
    It is disappointing that she has set her sights on getting rid of those who oppose her. First Grace Marsh now Buck

  42. Anonymous said

    Does Evelyn Buck EVER take responsibility?

    Why does she refuse to work out the problem, to talk it through with those she has attacked?
    It is her refusal to work with people that creates the problem.
    She refused informal measures.

    It is she who escalates, then claims to be Snow White, for goodness sake.

    It is she who broke confidentiality by publishing her letter to the mayor one day before she sent it.
    Turn about is fair play.

    She doesn't like both sides presented.
    It is she who claims that what she does is playing politics.
    It is she who created the need for a Code of Conduct.

    It is she who makes everyone pay so that she can enjoy her warrior games.

    I want the limits established because she is a loose cannon who brings this town down.

  43. StephanieAllen said

    Hmmm…I wish I had waited a bit so I could have posted my comment on this post instead of the "Financial Accountability" one, as I think it applies here as well, considering the article that got caused me to write is addressed here. If the Aurora Citizen doesn't mind, I'd like to re-post most of it here:
    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?

  44. Anonymous said

    12 days with no postings on this site, censorship of views not in keeping with its bias, and now this approach.
    The sky is falling again.
    I say that is extreme hypocrisy.

    You may not publish other points of view, but a growing number are fully aware.
    What's good for the goose is good for the gander and what goes around comes around!

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