Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Keystone Cops Alive and Living In Aurora

Posted by auroracitizen on August 10, 2009

News coverage is finally starting to shine a light on the activities of Council.

Aurora’s Integrity Commissioner Axed
By Sean Pearce – Era Banner
August 10, 2009

Less than two months after formalizing his agreement with the town, Aurora’s integrity commissioner has left the building.

Following last Thursday’s special meeting of council, the six members who attended left closed session after voting to immediately remove the powers of integrity commissioner EthicScan Canada Ltd. president David Nitkin.

Further, it was also resolved the search for a new integrity commissioner begin immediately, the integrity commissioner section on the town’s website be removed and any pending complaints be stayed and reported to Aurora’s director of corporate services and held in abeyance until a new integrity commissioner is appointed.

For her part, Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris said council’s decision is a result of the inability to reconcile Mr. Nitkin’s procedures with the town’s own code of conduct, despite multiple attempts.

“We have a code of conduct that we have adopted and wish to uphold,” Mrs. Morris said. “We, the council, entered into an agreement for a complaint procedure that we put in place and we agreed to it and it would appear the procedure the integrity commissioner wishes to follow appears not to be in compliance and, in fact, appears to conflict with council’s adopted code.”

In an interview between The Banner and Mrs. Morris Friday afternoon and attended by town solicitor and acting CAO Chris Cooper, the mayor explained council resolved to abide by a section in the agreement between the town and EthicScan, although she said she could not divulge any specifics about the section of the contract nor could she say what, if any, financial implications the decision might have for the town due to concerns about confidentiality. Citing similar reasons, Mrs. Morris said she was unable to comment on how much Mr. Nitkin had been paid for his services so far.

CBC News at Six
(The following link, will take you directly to the August 10th show.)
We also made the news on CBC News at Six. Check out the report from 17:43 – 20:25. Councillor Buck confirms –after finally getting a copy of the report — that she was completely cleared of the accusations that were made by Council.

A Few Questions That Spring To Mind

  1. Why does Mayor Phyllis Morris need the Town Solicitor sitting in on interviews? What was she afraid she might say?
  2. How did Aurora Council hire someone after months of discussions only to find out “the procedure the integrity commissioner wishes to follow appears not to be in compliance and, in fact, appears to conflict with council’s adopted code.”? What kind of research did they do the first time? Is their latest “spin” credible?
  3. What will the process of hand-picking their next Integrity Commissioner be? Will it require an upfront agreement to follow Council direction since autonomy is clearly not allowed?
  4. Why does our procedure conflict so seriously with an acknowledged expert who has built a reputation based on managing these issue? Maybe the problem is the Code as written by this Council?
  5. Was the reason for Councillor Buck’s vindication because the Integrity Commissioner viewed the basis for the complaint as politically motivated?
  6. Why are citizens of Aurora unable to see the cost to our taxes of this latest (insert your own descriptive here) move by this Council? After all, it’s our money they keep spending.

If it wasn’t our money and our reputation, it might well make a good slapstick comedy. As it is, we are not only the laughing stock of York Region — but now Aurora will become a case study of what not to do when discussing integrity and politics.

First it’s clotheslines — now ethics. Mayor Phyllis Morris is certainly putting Aurora on the map. Too bad it’s for all the wrong reasons.

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12 Responses to “Keystone Cops Alive and Living In Aurora”

  1. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    anyone looking for the CBC coverage can see it online at :

    the time of the segment was previously posted as between 17:43 – 20:25

  2. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I agree with Robert the Bruce's comments and am glad I'm not alone in wanting to go to the polls and erase the mistakes of the 2006 vote. I doubt we will see a 33% turn-out in voting this time.

    Although the stupidity abounds, will it be front and center and enough to hold this GOS accountable come 2010?
    I would say no if the GOS was successful in their attempts in silencing Buck, luckily for all Aurorans this has not happened, and we will not allow it.

    The smartest thing to do would be to drop the whole thing at this point but we all know they're not that smart.

    From the mayor's PR:

    "A mayor should ensure that everyone's voice is heard, respect new ideas, and support council members in doing their job to make local government accountable to the public."

    I would suggest that everyone with the opinions posting here take them and deliver them to the mayor personally.

    From the town website there is designated time to meet with Mayor Morris.

    Appointments are being offered in fifteen minute intervals on Fridays between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon and can be booked by contacting the Mayor's office at 905-727-3123 ext. 4741.

    It goes on to say "Mayor Morris looks forward to seeing you!"

    I'm curious to see if there's a smile on her face if 2 hrs every Friday are consumed being held accountable by her public.

    I look forward to seeing you too….your Worship

  3. PArkview 7 said

    "check out the toronto sun article now morris says its all a "huge coincidence""

    Uh-oh, someone's nose is growing! Soon you'll be able to hang out the washing on it.

  4. Robert the Bruce said

    I am deeply concerned by the fact they still have the complaint on the website and that Morris said that they may re-open the complaint once a new IC is on board.

    First of all, they did not uphold the concept of "Innocent until proven guilty" by posting the complaint in the first place and then having it in the local papers. Now, the concept of "Double Jeopardy" is being thrown in by potentially re-hashing the complaint.

    How can they even believe that if the complaint was found to be "political" before, it will not be "political" a second time after all of this has happened.

    For those here that are saying that 2010 can't come soon enough or we must get this group out. I agree but we are a small group here on this blog. The collective memory of the residents will have faded by this time next year. There must be a concerted effort to make sure that this and all of the other "blunders" that have occurred over the last three years are remembered and brought to the fore next year.

    We need to attend all-candidates meetings and pepper the incumbants (if they are daft enough to try and run) and run a slate of candidates that will use the record of this council as the basis for change.


  5. Anonymous said

    The complaint is still on the website because as someone said before you it only works one way, and that is her way! Not the FAIR and JUST way!!!

    I believe I got the feeling that a New Integrity Commissioner will be dealing with this. That is if they find one that has the same idea of Integrity as the Mayor and the GOS and now it would appear Mr Cooper, Town Solicitor. When is his probation period up and will he then stand up to the law or still the Mayor, after all she has the qualifications of Integrity Commissioner, lawyer, Human Resources and who knows what else. Her head must hurt there seems to be so much intelligence in there!!!

  6. Anonymous said

    I realise how invigorated MacMor and their followers must be with this huge amount of civic activity and the resulting media buzz, but is anyone actually doing anything constructive at the Town Hall or are we all involved in a legal and ethical whirl pool that is going to drag us all down ? This is not the kind of government I voted for, that's for sure !

  7. Anonymous said

    now that we KNOW that the complaint was dismissed WHY IS THE COMPLAINT STILL ON THE WEBSITE?????

  8. Anonymous said

    check out the toronto sun article now morris says its all a "huge coincidence"

    I kid you not…

    the spin in the story is dizzying

    but the reporter got it

    he put the word "coincidence" under the "picture" of Morris


  9. Witnessing an Epic Fail said

    Meeting a member of the media with a lawyer at your side fails the 'optics' test, doesn't it? It looks like you need legal protection, like you have something to hide.

    Not that the mayor told Sean Pearce much – did she answer any of his questions? Which isn't very nice, considering the number of stories she and Cllr MacEachern spoon fed him earlier this year. Fluff pieces which pumped their own tires, of course.

    They're loathe to communicate to the residents of Aurora through the pages of the true local newspaper. That's because it's "Ron's newsletter" – more old political scores for them to settle.

    Then our mendacious mayor told the CBC that there was talk of firing the Integrity Commissioner prior to the rendering of his first, last and only decision. What are the odds that Cllrs Collins-Mrakas, McRoberts, and Buck weren't privy to those discussions? And does anyone believe that had the IC ruled in their favour, that he'd have been summarily dismissed within a couple of days?

    Open and transparent, indeed. I urge people to re-read the mayor's Inaugural Address. What enthused me at the time, now makes me shake my head in dismay. Her words bear no relation to her subsequent conduct and endeavour.

    Mayor Morris, I know you read this. Please drop and step away from the shovel – the hole you're digging for yourself is getting deeper and deeper.

  10. Anonymous said

    i Watched the cbc news with interest..

    They said that the decision was that there was no basis for an inquiry….

    so my question then is why is the complaint still up on the town website????

    they were very quick to remove the tab for the integrity commish when they fired him…

    i would assume they would do the same for this…

    rules only work if they are followed and enforced by everyone!!!

  11. Anonymous said

    Let us not forget PM's gang, led by MacMor. They are far from innocent in this matter. They are responsible as elected officials for their own actions (even if they don't understand…or are confused!!!) Let the net be spread to include the infamous GO5They all must take responsibility for this fiasco. After all, isn't it all for one and one for all…united we stand, divided we fall and all the other nonsense that follows when you are blindly led onto the front lines. Good luck!

  12. Anonymous said

    Not just in Aurora:

    Read the story: T&T Integrity Commission quits

    Immediately after mass resignations in February opposition leader Basdeo Panday called for a review of all previous decisions of the commission over the past eight years to see if other decisions were also tainted.

    "Several matters questioning the conduct and activities of government official, including five ministers, were referred to the Integrity Commission over the past few years. In many instances the Commission has quickly and almost effortlessly cleared these persons or the complaints have slipped into some black hole," Panday said.

    Read the story: Panday challenges Integrity Commission

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