Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Changing Priorities

Posted by auroracitizen on September 12, 2009

The recent Banner article captures a number of thoughts shared by Councillor McRoberts at the latest Council meeting. They seemed worthy of consideration — possibly the balance of Council should give them consideration before dismissing as quickly as Mayor Morris did Tuesday night.

McRoberts questioned why Mr. Nitkin’s report appeared on a non-televised General Committee meeting when when the code of conduct clearly stipulates it should have appeared on the first council meeting following its receipt. Two such meetings have occurred prior to the Tuesday meeting — including on that very evening.

Mayor Morris accepted no responsibility for the decision and placed the blame squarely on departing Director of Corporate Service Ms. King.

He further suggested it would make sense to re-evaluate the code and look for opportunities for improvement. He also suggested an accountability and transparency committee — not made up of Councillors — be formed to review the code of conduct to determine if there are sections that conflict with the Ontario Municipal Act. Such a committee should also be charged with finding a new integrity commissioner.

Councillor Collins-Mrakas has also previously suggested that a province wide approach makes sense. Since having each municipality craft their own has clearly been a disaster, this would make sense. It would also make sense to have the Integrity Commissioner be independent from municipalities (like the OMB) to prevent exactly what has happened in Aurora from repeating itself.

McRoberts also suggested that since the complaint against Councillor Buck had been declined by Nitkin, that it would make sense to remove the complaint against her from the Town website since there was “an assumption of guilt instead of a presumption of innocence”.

Not surprising, Mayor Morris quickly disagreed on all aspects. She indicated that at this point (i.e. since they were not successful), more time should be focused on doing the town’s business than on wrangling with technicalities. How convenient. Now that the Mayor et al have not accomplished their objective, they want to refocus on “town business”.

For example, Monday, she will be ramping up the PR to promote herself for her role in Right to Dry.

A Press Release was posted on the Town website on Wed Sept 9 announcing “As a result of their leadership role in the successful Right to Dry campaign, Mayor Phyllis Morris, Council and the Town of Aurora will be profiled as a Canadian leader in a movement to allow people the freedom to make more environmentally conscious choices.”

This must be the important town business she refers to. More media coverage for herself.

It’s more like a ploy to distract people from the real issues in the town. Plus, another opportunity to increase her profile.

Well, rest assured Mayor Morris, your profile is front and centre. You have generated more media from your recent leadership on the handling of the firing of our Integrity Commissioner than through the clothesline debate. Your place in history in Aurora and the province is assured.

We should all be careful what we wish for 😉

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10 Responses to “Changing Priorities”

  1. White Knight said

    I watched the council meeting last night.There were so many ironies and hypocrisies I thought:
    Councillor Buck has been accused of leaking information, breaching confidentiality etc. yet it was Gaertner who couldn't keep her trap shut last night and bled confidentiality all over the chamber about the departures of staff. She and her little group wouldn't know the principles of or rights to confidentiality if they smacked them in the face.
    Councillor Buck has been accused of being disrespectful and not observing decorum yet the sneering and smirking observed and the condescending, patronizing tone heard among Gaertner, Morris, MacEachern, Granger, Gallo and Wilson is hardly what I define as being respectful and observing decorum.
    Councillor Buck has been accused of harrassing and making false accusations about staff yet you only have to watch council meetings during the last 3 years to witness MacEachern and Gaertner regularly accusing staff of not providing reports, many other misdemeanors and generally making disparaging comments to stafgf in public. Of course that was to the many now departed senior staff members. They now have their "dream team" (as the mayor put it) whom they handpicked and hired so the tone now is more congenial.
    In conclusion, to say the least, there is a blatant double standard in this council and there is certainly more than 1 councillor against whom a complaint under the code of conduct could be levelled if they felt that the accusations against Councillor Buck were justified.

  2. Not Buyin' What She's Sellin' said

    Something Fishy in Aurora said…

    "I’m guessing what the outcome of the two motions being tabled by councilor McRoberts tonight will be."

    Well, they shot down his first one (a reconsideration my a$$) and eviscerated the second before referring it to staff.

    How tiresomely predictable…

    p.s. The mayor was at her cloyingly smarmy worst tonight. I needed a shower after watching her performance *shudder*

  3. Anonymous said

    I think everyone needs to show up tonight again to show a presence and let them know that we the citizen's are fed up!!!!!

    Considering our most loyal and concerned non-resident st. kitts has sent out an e-mail asking for all supporters of the phyllis to come out tonight…

  4. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    I’m guessing what the outcome of the two motions being tabled by councilor McRoberts tonight will be.

    Motion for the “Removal from the Town’s Website of the Code of Conduct Complaint (pg. 53)

    Will be defeated….can you guess the votes, I can.

    Formation of an Accountability and Transparency Advisory Committee (pg. 56)

    I like how he worded this one. This one will also be defeated by the same vote. Unless of course the Mayor plans to head up the committee since she has stated….

    “I will work with Council and Town Staff to make our municipal government more open, more transparent, more accountable and more inclusive.”

  5. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    Anonymous September 15, 2009 8:37 AM

    She'd have to clean it first, and I doubt there's enough soap in the world to do that

    Does the mayor hang her own laundry, no. Is she a hypocrite, yes.
    Does she care about the environment or energy conservation, no, does she care about positive press, you bet she does.

    Isn't the issue regarding the "right to dry" settled, why is there still a campaign?
    Oh right anything to take the attention off her pathetic attempts at leadership.

    If there's one thing that needs to be hung out to dry in this town it is the mayor herself, and her dirty laundry (the entire GOS)
    but that won't be done until next November so I guess we'll have to hold our noses until then.

  6. Anonymous said

    I have to wonder does Phylis actually put her laundry out to dry? I know this is a personal question, but she puts it out there. I never heard her say she takes the time to do it.

  7. Richard Johnson said

    The “Right to Dry” clothes line campaign raises a few questions: Has anyone checked with Canadian Tire in order to see how cloths line sales have been going in Aurora since the Mayor’s big cloths line push was undertaken ? How many megawatts have been saved to date ? It may be a small point but is it not an issue that most back yards being built in new developments these days can’t even fit a clothes line ? I’d also like to know what to I do when my cloths freeze this winter ? Any answers to these pressing questions would be much appreciated.

    All kidding aside, while the “Right to Dry Campaign” may be one of the thousand points of light that are moving us in a more sustainable direction, it is truly sad to see that Mayor Morris actually thinks that this effort will make the necessary impact when she has missed far greater opportunities to improve our environment and to become better educated on power supply issues. I know from first hand and extensive experience that when faced with far more long standing and significant power supply issues facing both Aurora and York Region, Mayor Morris refused to allow Council to be adequately educated before taking votes and she demonstrated a significant lack of understanding of some of the most basic issues while various experts were ignored and as she turned to her friend's advice and her own agenda. There is clearly a pattern of behavior here.

    As a small example of my perspective, I suggest that the public check the attendance record of Mayor Morris at the Hydro Task Force which in the last election she held up as an example of her service to our community. I bet she did not attend 5% of the meetings and when the Aurora – (mostly) Markham Hydro Task Force called a recent emergency meeting in order to educate Mayor Morris on issues she was clearly mishandling and misrepresenting without apparent appreciation for the implications, Mayor Morris showed up one hour late to an hour and a half meeting and then she proceeded to demonstrate a an almost total lack of awareness as to what was going on or the potential implications of her actions. To this day she has no clue what she has done to impact the power procurement process in Ontario, but I’m sure she is happy that she took Sue Walmer’s advice on these matters given that Sue also refused to look into these issues after three and a half years of me trying to educate her and EAC on the environmental implications of the power supply issues facing Aurora. Now Mayor Morris wants to be cast herself in a green light while at the same time also presumably supporting the Conservative’s environmental policy. I’ll leave it to you to reconcile that apparent relationship of convenience, but don’t forget that Tim Jones ran for the Liberals in the last federal election.

    The spin and whacky logic being applied in Aurora are nothing short of amazing, but not surprising at this stage. Maybe we need an Intelligence Commissioner as well as an Integrity Commissioner, then we could see the sparks really fly with the added “benefit” of keeping Aurora on the map as far as the national Media is concerned.

  8. Anonymous said

    I was also in the gallery and only want to see some level of respect ,compassion ,integrity ….oh isnt that funny that Aurora is a "Character Community ".
    Sad that this is what our next generation is being given as example.

  9. concerned taxpayer said

    I just read the article in the Banner. At the very end it quotes Ms. Morris, "Our opinion is that the process was followed."
    Is that the Royal "our" as in the Royal "we?"
    Also, just for the record, those in the public gallery were not only former politicians, their families, or friends of the councillors. I am none of the above. I am simply a very concerned taxpayer that is tired of our money being wasted on personal vendettas under the guise of a code of conduct.

  10. Totally Fed Up said

    First of all, how convenient for Mayor Morris to be able to place the blame on the now retired Ms. King regarding the timing of tabling Mr Nitkin's report.
    Secondly, thank the lord for some logic and sense from Councillor McRoberts and Councillor Collins-Mrakas.

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