Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

A Story of Integrity

Posted by auroracitizen on September 12, 2009

For folks not familiar with the history of the firing of our Integrity Commissioner, here is a rundown as well as some of the links where we have covered this issue, plus access to comments from your fellow citizens.

After a long search for an Integrity Commissioner, Nov 25 2008, Aurora finally declares David Nitkin is our guy.

After months of wrangling Mr Nitkin’s contract is signed June 18, 7 months after announcing his selection. No rationale is provided for the delay.

The first complaint is lodged when 6 members of Council signed a formal complaint against Councillor Buck for alleged comments against staff. Links to the original information on the town website are available through this link.

Report returned from Mr Nitkin However, report is not issued to public, but available internally to certain staff and possibly select Council members.

2 days later Mr Nitkin is fired.

Initial view of report indicates that Mr Nitkin would not respond to the complaint because the issues are deemed political in nature. In his report he indicated “It is the decision of my office that this statement of complaint, as is, is unacceptable and that as is, no investigation or inquiry shall take place.”

Mainstream media picks up the issue. CBC News, Toronto Sun, Era Banner

Latest activity is the report is published at a General Committee meeting — which conveniently is not televised — versus the required Council Meeting and Mayor Morris is planning a statement on “behalf of Council” which she wrote and published in the agenda for the same meeting the report from Nitkin was tabled.

This tactic handily published “her statement” (Item 23 on General Committee agenda) before anyone on Council saw it and avoided having to solicit Council approval before her statement was made public — effectively preventing even her faithful disciples from having any influence on her message. A real team player!

If you are available, try to make the meeting Tuesday evening. It should be interesting.

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42 Responses to “A Story of Integrity”

  1. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    The fact that the Mayor and GOS voted for including a legally scripted response to the IC report and against a motion for an Accountability Committee speaks volumes to their integrity.

    "The Dream Team" effectively working as the Ministry of Spin conducting a pep rally before the council meeting also speaks volumes.

    Some dream, perhaps the title of this topic "A Story of Integrity" should be changed to "A Nightmare Before Integrity"

  2. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    Both the topic and White Knight are right on the mark.

    In regards to why certain members of council are upset about blogs.
    It is my opinion that Evilina, and the rest of the GOS, chose not to participate because they are :

    1.) uneducated and do not recognize the importance or function of this new media, unlike other members of council
    2.) jealous that another councilor uses a blog effectively
    3.) scared that they cannot control (squash) public opinion that does not match their own using this new media.
    4.) cautioned against it for legal reasons
    5.) lacking any valuable insight or constructive debate on the issues

    In lieu of an Accountability Committee Aurora needs to be more vocal.
    Citizens have the final word and Aurora needs more blogs like the Aurora Citizen.

  3. Heather said

    "If they truly were six individual EDUCATED votes then I..would find that to be be acceptable."

    I agree. There seems to be lots of pomp & circumstance when anything is carried unanimously, even if it's just minutes of the last meeting being accepted…"That motion passes UNANIMOUSLY!" – is announced like they've just created world peace.

    I think the 'gang of six' would be criticized less as the 'GOS' if they did vote differently at times, instead of all together. It really does appear as if there's not much discussion, debate, etc about anything. It's 6 votes one way, three votes the other.

    I'm not a statistician, but I wonder what the chances are that 6/9 people are always going to vote the same way?

  4. A concerned resident said

    This is my take on yesterday's Council meeting – early on in the debate on Councillor McRoberts motion to set up an Accountability Committee, Councillor McEachern made a statement something along the lines that the motion was going to be defeated (so he may want to think about changing it/referring it…); any reference she made about it after that initial comment was tempered – something like "if it gets defeated". Was the initial comment a simple misstatement or was it insight into the block voting that apparently doesn't occur. Watch the tape and come to your own conclusion.

    Kudos to Councillor McRoberts for taking a breath, counting to ten and then responding in a most civilized tone. It must have been a very frustrating moment for him.

  5. Anonymous said

    If they truly were six individual EDUCATED votes then I, along with many others and Councillor Buck would find that to be be acceptable. BUT IT IS NOT THAT WAY ON AURORA COUNCIL! That is the problem!

  6. Anonymous said

    So how many people showed up for the Sher St. Kitts – Morris Day parade last night ? Did the town hire the band for the occasion and then throw a celebratory cocktail party on our dime ?

  7. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous Sept16 8:16AM
    "undermine the decisions of council".
    This is a group that is on a personal mission! I don't believe for a second they are doing what is best for the citizens in this town.
    They are a group voting against another group….not voting on town issues.
    Shame on Al Wilson! I voted for him, and I kick myself every time I hear him speak.

  8. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous September 15, 2009 9:16 PM

    "So it is ok the GOS are allowed to have six votes and know one else can."

    Each councillor is allowed one vote. I'm pretty sure that's how it works. It just happens that Councillor Buck comes out on the loosing end of the vote more often than not. She has one vote and can't accept that the majority rules. And continually tries to undermine the decisions of council.

  9. LessMac NOT MorMac said

    Did you see MacEachern try calling out Bill Hogg over this blog tonight?

    She starts off agreeing with his points and finishes off with the zinger of the AC moderator identity, trying to put him on the spot. Bill didn't do a bad job of parrying her shot.

    Nice try, Evil MacNasty!

  10. Anonymous said

    I was at the town hall tonight and I would like to give the Oscar to mayor morris for her portrayal of the Queen. What an act! What a joke! She was amazing as she praised herself and her loyal followers who have turned their backs on the residents of Aurora and have followed the mayor in her path of destruction.
    Then the supporting actor should be MacEachren for the phony tears and garbage speech.This is the lady who has done a total turn about and now supports morris, the lady that she hated before this council.What happened? Why has she done such a turn about? Is she going to run for mayor the next election?
    The other speeches were just as bad.
    The only one that made any sense was Bob McRoberts. This was the most voted for councillor this and any other election.He has, with Councillor Collins tried to keep this council on track with no success.
    Anyone who voted for Bob should be offended at morris's action and lack of leadership.Oh wait has morris made McEachren deputy mayor instead of McRoberts.
    This could be a movie soon. You never know.

  11. Anonymous said

    It will be my goal to get as many people out to the polls at election time as I can.
    This current mayor needs to be replaced with someone with experience and knowledge. We need a council with individuals who are not afraid to do research, form opinions based on facts, and vote according to their own beliefs. Imagine that!

  12. Anonymous said

    So it is ok the GOS are allowed to have six votes and know one else can. It is ok the Town administration leaves fast than you can ride your bike to the store. It is ok that the GOS spent your money on a witch hunt. These are just a few of the things that this GOS has manage to accomplish . Oh but wait it is Evelyn's fault for having a voice that speaks differently then them. It was Evelyn who caused all of this. She also spent the money. Oh but wait She had only one vote and yet she was able to accomplished this all by herself. Have we followed the spin yet? Do you know what you are saying. Because from what I am reading I am not sure you have a clue about what has gone on here and yet you have an opinion and you think that people should listen to you. How it is that different to anybody else? Oh thats right anonymous wrote it but maybe you wrote this one too! Who will ever know. But I should form my opinion from anonymous and decide for myself. Oh what a novel idea. What spin! How easy it is to write. I am not sure what I have written. Now I feel like Mayor Morris. This is getting scary!

  13. Anonymous said

    Wow, Anonymous September 15, 2009 4:40 PM
    You wrote what's been on my mind.
    Absolutely.

  14. Anonymous said

    I am disappointed in the Mayor and the majority of council. I did expect more from them. I was certainly tired of the Jones and the "old boys" attitude that proceeded this council.(There are exceptions: Vrancic, Kean)

    But let's call a spade a spade. Buck has managed to single handedly bring this council down to her level. It's hard to move forward when it appears that a member of council (Buck) continues to disrail the intended progress.

    If there is a failing of the Mayor is that she wasn't able to effectively manage Buck. I'm not sure anyone would have been able. That's not an excuse for the Mayor, it's a reality she has failed to deal with.

    From my prospective, Buck has been a problem from day one and will continue to be. It's unfortunate her negative and destructive attitude has been able to distract the others from performing the work they were elected to do.

    I suspect that there are others who are working behind the scenes to ensure this Mayor and council never get any traction. It somehow vindicates their claims that the wrong people were elected. Hardly democracy: if you don't elect those that we back we will continually undermine those that you do elect.

    The only comforting thought that I have is that those I believe may responsible for such activity are limited to a handful of individuals who have a vested interest in supporting Buck and regime change.

    The next election will be very telling indeed.

  15. Anonymous said

    Come on all you Mewling Malcontents.

    Make your Move, all this Maligning of Missguided Mayor Morris and Malicious McEachern is Making them Mad. If you Make Matters Much More Miserable it Might Motivate the Majority to Move a Motion Making Music Mandatory during Meetings.

    Surely Sweet Sher from Snowball could Suggest Someone Significantly Suitable Should that Succeed.

  16. Anonymous said

    True integrity or lack of seems to be flowing in Sher St Kitts email to certain Aurora residents to show up at tomorrows council meeting where she says that we should stop those who are against the mayor and her loyal followers.St Kitts under the email address of St Kitts music( another plug for hubby) to show up at tommorrows council meeting to show the support for the mayor, or does she mean her hubby.
    I am sick and tired of this self serving mayor lover with blinkers on. Let's stop the crap and get rid of this mayor and Snowball's or soon to Auroran.

  17. Anonymous said

    I cannot believe that the phyliss lovers do not realize that this mayor has turned this council into a three ring circus accross Canada not just York region.
    You may disagree with Buck's actions but please do not tell me that you do not believe that this is the worst joke of a mayor and council Aurora has ever had.
    At last weeks GC meeting McEachren was spitting venom as soon as Collins started to speak.
    Here is a University professor(Collins) vs a person who should not be on council(McEachren)who only believes that she is right.
    morris is also the most disruptive mayor that we have ever had,
    Come on get the blinders off and start seeing this mayor as the poor choice she is.

  18. White Knight said

    To Anonymous Sept 14th @10:10
    Please anyone, correct me if I am wrong but what I heard at the GC meeting last week was Ms. Collins-Mrakas saying that she never seems to be able to get items put on the agenda. Then Mayor Morris, I felt, tried to put words in her mouth by saying, "You mean staff prevent the items from reaching the agenda", (another target for a complaint for bad m outhing staff I wonder?), to which Councillor Collins-Mrakas replied, "I did not specify that Madam Mayor."
    That is what I heard, unless I was dreaming.

  19. Junius said

    To Anonymous of September 14, 2009 12:50 PM:

    You state (in a rebuttal to a previous post)
    "She said Staff prevents her from brining these items forward to be included on the agenda and that she has "a list of items to prove it". She said she would provide the list for the Council meeting. No list on the agenda?

    Unfounded allegation.., without merit? "

    I don't believe that Councillor Collins-Mrakas made any allegations against staff.

    She did say that she had not had much luck in getting items added as add-ons to the agenda.

    When Councillor Machearn challanged her on this, Councillor Collins-Mrakas replied that she would bring a list to the next Council meeting.

    The fact that this list is not on this week's agenda, does not mean she is not going to do it.

    Perhaps we can wait until the meeting to see what happens. Then pronounce.

  20. Anonymous said

    The difference is Councillor Buck is asking anyone if they would like to donate and help….Phyllis just took taxpayers money and spent it without an ok!!!!!!!!

  21. Anonymous said

    "If this is the case and Buck is so concerned for the Town then why doesn't she focus her efforts on bring the staffer's to justice. I kbow, she says they were forced to do it by the Mayor. Then why not concentrate on bring the Mayor to justice."

    I'm with you on that. All Councillor Buck has to do is put a motion on the table that the she wishes a Judicial Investigation. Then let the rest of Council support or oppose the motion.

    If Councillor Buck is not sure of her allegations she may refrain from making the motion. Lest she wants to feel the wrath of a judge who's time has been wasted.

    I'd like all the BS to stop and really see where everyone stands. Anyone on council can make the motion, but I think Councillor Buck has the most to gain or loose by making it – so I'd like to she her do it. It would be interesting to see who supported her motion.

    By making it she would instantly get some "street cred" for standing up for this Town. So would anyone who supports the motion.

  22. Anonymous said

    Anonymous September 14, 2009 10:10 AM stated

    "Have you ever been to a Council Meeting? Councillor Buck (along with Collins-Mrakas, as she stated last week) is never allowed to bring a motion forward, they all get chucked out by the majority."

    What a ridiculous statement!
    I do watch council meetings, suffering the agony of Councillor Buck going on and on, stretching out the time, then complaining that meetings are too long, sometimes leaving early when she was the very reason the meeting went late.

    I hope Buck is putting her money where her mouth is and not solely relying on handouts for her litigation.

  23. Anonymous said

    Anonymous Sept 14 2009 at 10:10 am

    Councilor Collins-Mrakas did not say she," is never allowed to bring a motion forward, they all get chucked out by the majority, aka the GOS."

    She said Staff prevents her from brining these items forward to be included on the agenda and that she has "a list of items to prove it". She said she would provide the list for the Council meeting. No list on the agenda?

    Unfounded allegation.., without merit?

  24. Anonymous said

    Here's one to watch – Tuesday Sept 8th GC meeting included the Mayor's 'letter to inform the public" regarding the IC, etc.

    The minutes of that meeting should appear on this week's agenda. They're LISTED….but the file only includes one page of minutes, nothing that pertains to this issue. Hmmm….

  25. Anonymous said

    "Councilor Buck – the fact that she chooses to allow serious allegations, that run to the foundation of democracy, unchallenged"

    Have you ever been to a Council Meeting? Councillor Buck (along with Collins-Mrakas, as she stated last week) is never allowed to bring a motion forward, they all get chucked out by the majority, aka the GOS.

    As I see it, how else can Evelyn bring attention to the corruption beyond going this route?

  26. Anonymous said

    Just curious…. If the town has started the process of looking for a new IC and Town clerk as phyllis states then why is there no ad for the position under Employment Opportunities on the town website???

    is she looking to apoint people to the position???

    we know she likes to do that..

    Just my Thoughts

    Thank you for reading:)

  27. Anonymous said

    Even the local media has caught on. Buck has alleged that staff "doctored" the minutes of a meeting.

    The Town hiring a lawyer, placing an ad in the papers, the complaint to the IC all stemmed from this allegation by Buck.

    Now Buck is suing the councilors who passed the motion to place the ad. From this I conclude that nothing has changed her mind about her allegation that staff "doctored" the minutes. If this is the case and Buck is so concerned for the Town then why doesn't she focus her efforts on bring the staffer's to justice. I kbow, she says they were forced to do it by the Mayor. Then why not concentrate on bring the Mayor to justice.

    Councilor Buck is concerned for herself only and the fact that she chooses to allow serious allegations, that run to the foundation of democracy, unchallenged and prefers to persue a questionable leagal action instead speaks directly to her lack of credibility.

  28. Anonymous said

    As a newcomer to Aurora it is a disgrace that people would elect such a self serving mayor and council. Do they not care what happens in Aurora. I am also surprised that the mayor would get any support. She seems like quite the community joke. I could not imagine the comments at the ribfest the other night about her. How can anyone support her. I for one will campaign for whoever runs against her in the next election as will my friends in the area.

  29. Anonymous said

    Where did the identity stripping put-down GOS come from?

    Why are people willing to use the term with such frequency on this blog and Evelyn Buck's blog?
    Where is the proof of what it suggests factually? A gang? Really ? We're all willing to use the designation of gang and all it implies to label six individuals who represent us in our democratic form of government?

    Why on the same two blogs are the same people on council demeaned and ridiculed?
    I don't see any blogs for "the other side".
    I do see a transparent course of action carried out, right or wrong, using the mechanisms and processes that municipal, no, all governments have at their disposal to deal with codes to deal with the use of blogs that undermine/deflect the work that should be done in the established forum of formal meetings.
    Vaughan Council publicly accepts that personality politics turn off voters, and reduces the numbers who will vote.
    People I talk to are tired of the ongoing personal games.
    I was shocked that Councillor Buck would pursue litigation, a position 180 degrees from what she had previously declared.
    I was disappointed that she would ask for donations to fund her decision.
    I do not support her judgments as this matter has unfolded.

  30. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous 3:11 PM.
    If you think Grace Marsh has no integrity, you should take a look in the mirror yourself. She is obviously doing something she believes in…something that is apparently not allowed in this town!
    I will help with the funding to support Evelyn, and I will do my best to get as many supporters as possible….Do I agree with everything Evelyn has ever said or done??? No…but I STRONGLY believe that the current situation with this Mighty Mayor and her mindless minions needs to be stopped.
    Morris uses YOUR money to sue and you see nothing wrong with that???
    Are you on the list of candidates for the next open position the town posts?

  31. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous Sept 13 3:11

    mayor morris should have thought of the problems that she has created by launching an attack on Buck. I do not agree with what councillor Buck has done but other Mayors have been able to at least try to work with her.
    No other time has a councillor resigned. No other time did Aurora need an integrity commissioner let alone fire one.

    The blame of this action lies clearly with the mayor and the GO5.

  32. Once burned, twice shy said

    I have a confession to make. My husband and I voted for Phyllis in the last election. We actually joined her campaign. We were brand new to Aurora but still believed that it is important to use the privilege of a vote.
    We had heard not so good things about Tim Jones and in fact,did not have any call backs from him when my husband petitioned him for help over a chronic difficulty with a builder and developer.
    I or my husband turned out in dreary late Fall weather to canvass our area. It turned out to be one area of town that Phyllis did not win.
    What we got from her and/or her campaign staff was an email, not of "thanks for your hard work", but of castigation and reproach, with the implication that it was our lack of effort that caused the result.
    I think you can guess who will not be checked on my ballot slip next election. Yes, Phyllis and the mindless sheep on council who have supported her.

  33. Anonymous said

    Here's from a dumb, uninformed Aurora taxpayer.

    I was glad when an integrity commissioner was hired.
    When I read his profile I thought he was the wrong man for the job, because he wanted to be the guy to make peace between warring groups.
    Obviously Evelyn Buck would not be willing to give him a shot.
    I think people elected to council should make the effort to work together.
    Evelyn Buck proudly roars that she bloody well will do what she wants.
    Maybe the other side is the same. They don't give that attitude a shout-out ( means something to me).
    I don't support blood-sport politics at any level by anyone.
    As a people we won't evolve if we support personality politics.
    The question is how bad will it have to get before we stand up for demanding our council, every single one of them engage in a civilized, respectful, debate over the issues that Aurora taxpayers care about ( receiving and weighing out all points of view).
    For me Evelyn Buck choosing to pursue litigation and choosing to ask for donations to do so is my tipping point.
    It continues the distracting force that she has chosen to exert throughout this term.
    She continues to escalate her judgmental assaults, using every vehicle available to her.
    I'm sure she feels she has nothing to lose.
    And of course she has every reason to believe that.

  34. Anonymous said

    I do support Grace Marsh and Councilor Buck .
    I have been on the other end of one of the Mayors corner of her mouth threats .
    This one was 2 years ago and Councilor Buck was the topic of it I am sure .
    This was planned by the Mayor along time ago because she cant wield knowledge ,so she uses her mean spirited tactics .

  35. Anonymous said

    "I certainly will not be adding to the fund. Lawsuits are like gambling in a casino. You need a pocket full of money before you get in there and are prepared to loose it all."

    yes you are right!! But Phyllis just uses our tax money as her personal piggy bank to gamble with!!!!

  36. Anonymous said

    I am tired of this whole mess including this blog.
    The comment about Mayor Morris "Her methods of discrediting people and pointing blame" applies as well to Evelyn Buck.

    I am appalled that Evelyn is looking for handouts at this time when people are looking for help with food, clothing and shelter.

    We, as well as she, know that litigation is a bottomless pit for money.
    The fact that she wants money for her own personal vendetta tells me more than I want to know about her.
    I used to sympathize with Grace Marsh's situation, had hoped she would run again, but no more.
    She obviously is part of a group that supports revenge politics.
    If she is willing to support this personality politics she is not for me.

  37. Anonymous said

    "Now, she has published that she has started a fund at a bank for her legal expenses"

    Evelyn didn't ask anyone for money. People have offered to assist her. Evelyn doesn't need other people's money! My goodness.

  38. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous at 9/13 – 7:53am.

    I agree, Evelyn has had her day in the sun and unlike a lot of people on this blog and hers, I feel that a substantial amount of the blame for the current situation should be shouldered by her. She does not see it that of course, she thinks she is doing the right thing by talking out of school.

    Now, she has published that she has started a fund at a bank for her legal expenses. If she wants to sue them, that's fine. However, she should think about the costs (after all she is supposedly looking out for the bottom line all the time) before she starts into a process like this.

    I don't know whether I am more angry that Evelyn is asking for money for this fight or that Grace Marsh is managing the money. I thought Grace had some integrity but if she ever had aspirations to run again for council, I am afraid she has now lost my vote.

    I certainly will not be adding to the fund. Lawsuits are like gambling in a casino. You need a pocket full of money before you get in there and are prepared to loose it all.

  39. Anonymous said

    To September 13,2009 7:53 AM

    You should care about mayor morris getting elected again. She has made Aurora the laughing stock of Canada by being key to appointing an unelected person to Council, by letting 12 or 13 key staff members leave Aurora due to her lack of leadership, by causing a councillor to quit, by firing a well known integrity commissioner only 6 weeks after hiring him, by making a mockery out of council rules by allowing St Kitts to abuse a councillor in the council chambers, by not following rules that are meant for ALL on council, by not investigating a possible misuse of Town money and lastgly by breaking every promise that she made during the last election.

    And you say that she should get re-elected.Wow get the blinkers off

  40. Anonymous said

    This behaviour of Phyllis Morris is not new to ANYONE who has worked with her on Council. It has not been as public as it is today because those who were on the same Councils had too much class and integrity to speak to anyone about her behaviour. They were busy working for those who elected them for the good of the community. The sense was she would eventually implode and that's what we're seeing now. It's not surprise to anyone who really knows her. Her methods of discrediting people and pointing blame, latching on to the latest group of new followers is not new. Once people who are in her camp disagree with her, she dumps them from her posse and latches on to the next unsuspecting victim. It hasn't changed. Granger has hung on because he isn't capable of forming his own opinion…on ANYTHING. Morris is not a leader. She was great at throwing the bricks and creating barriers and roadblocks to further her own political agendas. Now that she's in a position to make decisions and show prudent leadership, she can't do it. It's not in her. It's not her fault. She's simply not up to the task. Who knows how we'll get out of the mess we're in right now. Unfortunately, our Town has become the joke of this Region and now thanks to mainstream media…much further than that. We just need to ride it out, hope some credible, caring residents will take up the cause and run in the next election. Our job is to make sure none of this posse get re-elected. For the good of Aurora. It's a tough job, not everyone has the skill set required to be a leader. That's just the way it is. One more year. Let's hope the damage is repairable.

  41. Anonymous said

    I don't care about Phyliss. I do care that Evelyn Buck doesn't get re-elected.

  42. Anonymous said

    I am not surprised that mayor morris is trying to fool the residents of Aurora as she did during her last campaign. She lied then and she is now going to fool the same people she did three years ago.She will try to get those folks to vote for her again and make this town even worse than it has become under her reign. Her puppets(GOS) will follow her like little dogs looking for approval.At the Ribfest she had her biggest follower, Granger with her as he continues to think that by associating with her and mr phyliss he will get re-elected. What a joke.
    Do not let her fool you again.

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