Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Toronto Star: Council spat gets uglier

Posted by auroracitizen on September 9, 2009

Council spat gets uglier in Aurora
Sep 09, 2009 04:30 AM
Gail Swainson – Staff Reporter

Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris is planning on taking her version of events surrounding the firing of the town’s integrity commissioner directly to the citizens.

David Nitkin was fired in July, a day after issuing a report on a complaint lodged by five members of the council, plus the mayor, against a fellow politician.

The complaint, over Councillor Evelyn Buck’s outspoken blog, was “unacceptable” and perhaps sparked by political interference, Nitkin said in his report, which council released and dealt with publicly for the first time last night.

Nitkin didn’t rule on the merits of the code of conduct complaint against Buck, saying it was “ill formed, incomplete and inappropriate.” But he was otherwise blunt in his assessment of the reasons behind the complaint, using words such as “vexatious” and “frivolous.”

The complaint was filed after posts on Buck’s blog, called “Our Town and its Business,” criticized staff for not following council procedures, something Morris says is untrue.

The sordid public spat has caused a deep rift on council and sparked a public debate in sleepy Aurora.

Morris had issued a statement saying the town’s conduct code states council members should “refrain” from criticizing staff.

But after a committee backed her plan last night, she said “it’s time council put out a statement.”

If Mayor Morris is so concerned about openness and transparency and putting out a statement — why doesn’t Council publish the full Nitkin report so everyone can see his full response?
They published the full complaint and will be publishing her version — doesn’t Nitkin’s report deserve the same coverage?

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29 Responses to “Toronto Star: Council spat gets uglier”

  1. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    Anonymous September 10, 2009 8:04 AM

    "Councilor Buck's blog is becoming irrelevant."

    How so, if anything she is becoming more relevant with every passing week.
    The spotlight isn't shining from local news on this anymore, we're under the watch of major media outlets.

    Buck is the most relevant councilor, the only one who seeks to object to wrongdoing and expose it instead of sitting back and becoming a lackey.

    What is lacking in relevance are the excuses and spin that continue to pour out of our Mayor's mouth and any mouthpiece she chooses to spew them from (read Evilina, Granger, Sher…)

    "What's in it for Councilor Buck? At best she'll get re-elected. But she'll never be part of the inner circle where the real power is. "

    What makes you think that Buck is motivated by power.

    From everything I've seen it is quite the opposite.

    Buck doesn't want to join a clique for the purposes of ego or wielding some "power"

    She's 80, been the mayor already, she's not looking for a payout so this distinguishes her from the GOS who are most obviously power hungry, insecure, passive aggressive uneducated fools.

    We got what we voted for in 2006. A mistake that won't be repeated in 2010.

  2. Hugo T. Kroon said

    Evelyn, my dear…don't be so smug.
    I believe you may think the Star's motives for their recent interest in the political comings and goings over thtere in Aurora are just and pure, and are precipitated by some sort of concern for the citizens of Aurora.
    If that is the case, you are sadly mistaken.
    And as usual, some what deluded.

    The Star knows a train wreck when they see one.
    Where are they when something positive is going on in your little town?
    The last time they Toronto looked up from their lattes and navel gazing and acknowledged your "suburban bedroom", was you all made total fools of yourselves with the "right to dry" fiasco.

    Sheesh, what a bunch of smalls…

    The Star's motives in following the twin disasters in Aurora and Vaughan are to draw attention away from their own mayor, Comrade Miller and his band of social-enginering, union loving, resident hating, power hungry socialist misfits, who are doing their damndest to ruin what could have been (but never was) a world-class city.
    Lousy transit, detiorating infrastructure, excesive and punitive taxes, rampant crime, out of control spending, and the worst roads of every major city in north America. And a council that populated with such a bunch of losers, it makes the cast of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" look like the supreme court.
    No wonder the Star looks for some other town that's worse…
    I wouldn't be that concerned actually, but being right next door, I'm terrified that some of the stank may rub off on us here in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

    And really now, the increased traffic on your site was probably due only to the "readers" of that bloated monstrosity of a paper who figured there would me more juicy wreckage details to be found on your "blog".
    Fresh blood as it were.
    And the contined "intreest" (sp)may have more to do with people returning to check out what "moi's" latest self centered diatribe is about.

    No, don't be so smug, Evy, as Anon 9-10 8:04 says, "(you)'ll never be part of the inner circle where the real power is. And thus (you)'ll always be disruptive.
    And that, I'm afraid is the only legacy you are capable of leaving.

  3. Anonymous said

    Couldn't attend the General Committee meeting last night due to work comittments. Was wondering if Gaertner or Granger added anything of substance to the discussion or was it the same old gibberish from council's "bright lights"

  4. Evelyn Buck said

    My Blog readers tripled when the Toronto Press drew attention to it. The went back down to double and have stayed there until now when they are on the rise again.

    The blog hhas a narrow circle of intreest since it's about the town's affairs. The numbers rise according to the subject.

    I think the number of residents in attendance at the general committee meeting on Tuesday is due to this Blog and the opportunity to participate.

    Kudos to the Aurora Citizen.

    Maybe the way has been discovered how to win people's attention and notice what's going on in their town's business.

  5. Anonymous said

    Anonymous September 10, 2009 8:04 AM

    You've described the situation concisely and accurately, from my point of view, and I've followed Aurora politics for as long as Evelyn Buck has chosen disruption as her signature contribution… decades.

    Thanks for your apt explanation.

  6. Heather said

    I wasn't speaking for anyone, I simply felt the need to clarify, that's all.

  7. Anonymous said

    Why is Heather speaking for Evelyn Buck?
    I'm sure of all people Evelyn Buck speaks for herself.

  8. Anonymous said


    Spin it anyway you want. The fact is, people are choosing to respond to her blog postings in the Aurora Citizen.

    Councilor Buck's blog is becoming irrelevant. If it weren't for the continual controversy she creates she would be irrelevant as well. And she knows it.

    Don't forget it was during a previous term of office that Tim Jones ordered Councilor Buck removed from the chamber. Bottom line – she has always been disruptive or she was just being silenced by the former Mayor Jones. Given this history and her tendency to put her own "slant" on the story, how tightly do you think any future candidate is going to tie him or herself to Buck's wagon?

    Let's face the truth, the only reason she is getting support for her cause, from a certain quarter, is because she opposes the GOS and that benefits those that want back in power. Councilor Buck is not their champion. They are using her to do their heavy lifting. They don't want to get their hands dirty.

    You may not realize this, but Councilor Buck, in her heart of hearts, certainly does. Politics is a "blood sport" and eating your own is a part of it and not as distasteful as some politicians claim it to be.

    What's in it for Councilor Buck? At best she'll get re-elected. But she'll never be part of the inner circle where the real power is. And thus she'll always be disruptive.

  9. Heather said

    To the person who said Evelyn's blog hits are dropping- Sorry, you're wrong. And, hits are only available to the administrators, so unfortunately you're incorrect there too.

  10. Walt said

    Sorry – there was more to my last comment, but it got eaten somehow when I hit post.

    Tim – the circus needs more acts. Who else could appear? I mean, obviously, George St. Kitts will be leading the orchestra pit, but who else?

    Gordon Barnes hawking tomatoes that the audience can toss at the cast?

    A certain editor of a local and independent fish wrapper, doing his imitation of Nero, fiddling while the whole circus tent bursts into flames?

  11. Aurora Citizen said

    Rumours and allegations are running fast and furious — some submitted multiple times.

    Sorry, unless you are prepared to sign your name — anonymous will have to spread their rumours elsewhere.

    If your post contains any rumours or allegations, the entire post must be rejected since we have no ability to edit. Please feel free to amend your comments and re-submit.

  12. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous 5:05 PM

    How can you "serve" the GOS as individuals and not the Town, when it was the Town that paid for the ad?

    Buck needs to prove that the GOS weren't acting as the Council of Aurora when they made the decision to place the ad. I think that's a pretty steep hill to climb.

    Guaranteed, this is coming back to the Town, if Buck goes through with it. But she won't. It's just some posturing on Buck's part to keep the issue in the limelight a little longer.

  13. Walt said

    I for one know that Mrs. Buck is pretty picky about what can and can't be commented on over there. When she indirectly compared her stance in Aurora with the death of that poor young woman in Iran who was in the democracy protest, I thought it was way over the top, and commented in her comment thread that maybe she rename her place "My Brain and Its Nonsense." Needless to say, it never appeared.

    This shouldn't be construed as me taking a stand against Mrs. Buck – I happen to think she's right about the the larger issues of council's (lack of) governance – but she doesn't do herself any favours when she tosses out such hyperbole.

    As I told my wife tonight, it is hard to feel anything but benign amusement at both sides, and just wait for the spectacle to continue.


  14. Anonymous said

    What was witnessed last night concerning the IC's report is nothing more than abuse: verbal, emotional, elder. What a disgrace this town has become.

  15. Anonymous said

    I had a drink with a friend after work today whose husband is a retired York University professor and also an acquaintance of David Nitken. He is familiar with Nitken's work and has the utmost respect for his work, as do many others.
    Who do Phyllis Morris and the 5 councillors who support her think they are? They don't have one tenth of his expertise and integrity between them and yet they think that they can blow him off as an incompetent. What egos!!!!

  16. White Knight said

    I was at the meeting last night and was appalled to learn that Councillors McRoberts and Collins-Mrakas did not receive their copy of the IC's report until last weekend. This is absolutely disgraceful and surely there is some recourse that the public has to put a stop to this.
    As for the mayor's intent to make a pre-emptive statement about the report before the ENTIRE council makes its formal response….WHO THE HELL DOES SHE THINK SHE IS??… AND WHO THE HELL DO THOSE WHO SUPPORT HER THINK THEY ARE???

  17. A VERY angry taxpayer said

    To Anonyomous, Sept 9, 1:33 p.m.
    I was in attendance at th meeting last night and almost choked when Al Wilson said that he "wanted to move on and deal with the big issues facing Aurora." Did I misunderstand something? Didn't the GOS make the Code of Conduct and the complaint against Councillor Buck the biggest issue in town? Didin't they take out a full pgae ad about the complaint? Isn't it too late to try to pretend otherwise, Councillor Wilson and your merry band of outlaws???? You should have been getting on with the town's real issues before you went spending taxpayer money on such nonsense… and continue to do so.
    Do you really think we are so stupid to be taken in by your drivel?

  18. Anonymous said

    I noticed that readers of Buck's blog post on this blog and not her's. I've also noticed the number of postings and hits to her blog are dropping rather dramatically.

    I wonder if she has too heavy a hand on the censorship lever. Afterall she did once say it was her blog and she would post what she wanted.

    It is obvious she craves attention and is becoming irrelevant. Maybe the Notice of Intent was Buck's way of creating some "buzz" around her blog. Afterall she would have the scoop on the story.

    Signed Anonymous

    PS. Kind of reminds of that television reporter in Brazil who was staging crimes so he could be the first on the scene. I think he's suspected of staging some murders as well. Just in case Buck gets any ideas, I'll just keep signing anonymous.

  19. Anonymous said

    Interesting, that Buck's blog syas she's intending to take legal action against the GOS. The rumor I heard is that there are others named in the potential action.

    I wonder why Buck doesn't mention that in her blog? Selective disclosure perhaps. My advice, this is not a trait you want to wrap yourself in as you head for the courts.

  20. Anonymous said

    she is not wasting taxpayers money… she is paying with her own dime!!!!

    and cause it's a civil suit, the GOS must use thier own funds…

    There is no way for them to try and use town money…Unlike they did last time…

    now that phyllis and the gang are screwed, Buck should just forget that they slandered her in the papers??

    i say nail them to the wall for all they have put this town through..

  21. Anonymous said

    "What happened to Evelyn Buck's position that she would not tax the taxpayers by indulging in legal games?"

    Who said the tax payers were paying Evelyn's legal costs? I think if you ask her, you'll hear differently. If you want to.

  22. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous at 3:55pm: If the people in question are served as individuals and not a group then I believe the legal fees rest on the individuals. The only people being drained are the people involved themselves, and not town money. For once.

    And a little message to Mayor Morris: If you would just give up this stupid vendetta and stop trying to make your spin look like the right one – – in the words of the Simpsons, "No no, dig UP stupid!" – – and start focusing on TOWN business (what a concept for a mayor and councilors eh?) then maybe you'd gain a shred of respect somewhere.

    And by the way, trying to say that town business IS getting done despite all the nonsense – – well that just tells us all that you all have WAY too much time on your hands and we should reduce your hours and wages. Seriously now, DIG UP!

    These sentiments are echoed by every other town citizen I have spoken to about all this.

  23. Anonymous said

    What happened to Evelyn Buck's position that she would not tax the taxpayers by indulging in legal games?
    What can she possibly gain?
    It is too strange to contemplate.

    Just as with divorce action, indulging in legal battles drains everyone, and serves no constructive purpose.

    It goes on and on and on and on.
    Life is too short to waste.

  24. Anonymous said

    Someone may want to ask Councillor Buck if it is true that the former mayor Tim Jones is actively involved, behind the scenes, in supporting her putting it to Mayor Morris.

  25. Tim the Enchanter said

    You said it Walt!

    I trust that the mainstream media will be notified of the impending festivities? It wouldn't be right to keep this to ourselves.

  26. Council Cop said

    The filing of “a notice of intent” seems to suggest that no law suit has been filed just yet, so this may not go to the next stage, but we can be sure that there will be fireworks. How could this have happened ???, will likely be the cry.

    It will be interesting to see if the rumors surrounding Mr. Nitkin's potential submission of a cease and desist order to the Mayor are true as well.

    This will all come out on the Mayor's proverbial cloths line in the very near future.

  27. Walt said

    and it just took a whole leap forward into the intensely ugly.

    Evelyn's posted on her blog that she has "…consulted a solicitor and accepted his advice. Mayor Morris and her five constant supporters have been served with Notice of My Intent to Take Legal Action against them."

    I, for one, will be applying for the popcorn and drinks concession at the three ring circus this is about to come.

    Maybe we can bring the bear back and have him dance for us too.

  28. Anonymous said

    Councilor Al Wilson spoke at the September General Committee meeting saying "Maybe staff should do a report "in regards to the council being able to respond within 90 days and now only the Mayors version is being released .
    Then Mr Wilson voted with the GO5 as usual and now has become a fence sitter and thus a coward .
    Politics is about taking a stand and making a point and in the end the result is known by your statement and vote .
    Mr Wilson is now fence sitting and that fence is barb wire around "Camp Morris ".

  29. Council Cop said

    Someone may want to ask the Mayor if it is true that she and another Councilor were actually trying to dodge someone that eventually served them with legal papers yesterday. Apparently Councilor Buck has filed a law suit against the Mayor and possibly the entire gang of six. Of course this should be confirmed with our Mayor, but I have it from a reliable source that this in fact did occur.

    Add into the mix the possibility that a cease and desist order was also apparently submitted to the Mayor by the former Integrity Commissioner who was fired by the Mayor and the G6 in what we are supposed to believe was some kind of big "coincidence", the day after he submitted is first decision that did not fit with the Mayor’s wishes.

    I guess the latest apparent development with regards to the Integrity Commissioner would come as no surprise given that the Mayor is now actively trying to serve as an example to all of the Municipalities in the Province with regards to how to conduct codes of conduct, by discrediting Mr. Nitkin’s credentials in the process.

    Some people seem to be also suggesting that the Mayor called the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and then subsequently implied in the press that they wanted her advice on her learning’s related to how she has handled our code of conduct issues locally. If true, it sounds like some more spin doctoring to me.

    Given the recent legal action and complete mayhem at our council and in the press, one wonders how many municipalities will be lined up for Mayor Morris’s advice on good governance and building open, transparent, professional and effective dialog that is considerate of all viewpoints.

    I looks like we will all have to wait for the Mayor’s next statement that will set everything straight.

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