Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Sept 15th Open Forum Comments

Posted by auroracitizen on September 16, 2009

The following remarks were delivered by Bill Hogg at the Sept 15 Council meeting. The video can be seen on the Rogers website — time 17:30 – 23:15. Councillor MacEacherns questions begin at 23:15 – 27:00.

Madame Mayor, members of Council, citizens of Aurora,

My first thought when considering my remarks tonight was to chastise this Council for their recent behaviour — not unlike the comments made by another person recently who publically took a single member of Council to task.

However, after further reflection, I will not chastise since I hold too much respect for the office of Mayor and Councillor, knowing the difficult job your all perform from personal experience and in respect to those who have sat in those chairs previously.

However, I would like to share some thoughts on the current situation.

Like many resident of Aurora my business brings me in contact with colleagues in the GTA. In all my years living in Aurora, I have never before been embarrassed by my community. I now find myself being regularly questioned about the activities of this Council.

People, both in town and elsewhere, are appalled by what they read about the conduct of this Council relative to the recent events and resultant firing of our Integrity Commissioner after his one and only report.

I am regularly stopped by friends and neighbours who share my concerns about the communication by this Council that questions the abilities of an accomplished individual who has had his good name and reputation smeared — to the point that he felt the need to issue a cease & desist notice to our Mayor.

We are disturbed by the appearance of a personal vendetta to silence a single Councillor and bully other critics into silence.

Now most of you know that I served for 3 years with Councillor Buck — in fact we sat side by side in those 2 chairs. With respect to Councillor Buck, she was often opinionated and thoroughly enjoyed a good debate — but her focus was the welfare of the town and its citizens and she always came well educated about the issues.

And while we often disagreed quite forcefully, we confined our comments to the issues and we tried to remain open-minded to hear what each other had to say.

Even her alleged smiting of Councillor Wallace with his own newspaper was simply an entertaining interplay between 2 passionate Aurorans that has been blown out of proportion. I was there. I’d like to assure everyone, No Councillors were harmed in the making of the video.

In that time, Councillors spoke vigorously about the issues and then often retired to a local restaurant to continue discussions on what was best for the town. A sense of unity was developed. Differing opinions were encouraged and debated at Council meetings in full public view not behind closed doors or before public meetings.

Politics in this town has change — and not for the better. In my opinion it has sunk to a new low with these most recent attacks.

Even now when the report from the Integrity Commissioner has been returned and declined to address the complaint because it was deemed ill-formed, incomplete and inappropriate in the way it was crafted because it could be seen as wholly political, the complaint is still published on the website as an official Council communication.

Mr Nitkin’s report seems quite clear on the issue.

Given these facts how can this Council continue to publish a complaint that has been clearly identified as inappropriate? Councillor McRoberts asked last week about this issue and has been forced to put his request into a formal motion rather than Council just taking the high ground and removing the compliant. I hope tonight’s vote will be recorded — and more importantly, I hope it will make it into the public record as was the custom — prior to this term.

I endorse Councillor McRoberts motion for a committee to evaluate the existing Code of Conduct. It has been shown that the Code and the processes associated with it as it exists currently are fraught with opportunity for mis-use.

A review by the public would only make sense.

I recall a number of years ago, another code of this nature was implemented in this town — championed by yourself Madame Mayor when you were a Councillor with ambitions to be Mayor. You included input from the community then. Does it still not make sense to include the community now?

It is time to stop with the politicking and get back to why you were elected — the business of this community. You need to stop spending our tax dollars on issues that are about Council personalities and personal agendas and work together to provide services at the lowest tax rate possible.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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3 Responses to “Sept 15th Open Forum Comments”

  1. A Real Tax Fighter said

    On the issue of factual reporting.
    Let's hope Ms. Morris and her band of followers, report the cost of legal expenses on a cash basis. ie actual dollars expended. If they report on an accounting basis the results will be more favourable to the GOS version of events as reserves can bury costs.I personally do not trust Ms Morris to give the real picture.

  2. Anonymous said

    The Complaint should have been addressed a month ago. It should have been removed then. The GOS had closed meetings to cook this report up, but no meetings to deal with the refusal of the complaint and worst yet NO EMERGENCY meeting to deal with the Resigning of the Clerk. Shame on you for calling things that had no business being dealt with under the name of the Town and then ignoring the real business of the town. The GOS really have got their priorities messed up. Get to the business of the town and stop ignoring the people who really do want to look after the town business!

  3. White Knight said

    Bravo! I think you were smack on the mark!
    I watched the council meeting and heard both from Councillor Wilson and from the mayor, a commitment to answer the public's questions with factual answers.
    I know that one of the most frequently asked question around town for at least a year or more is "How much has been spent on legal fees during this term of council?"
    Well, I am assuming that we will have an answer now if Wilson and Morris uphold their commitment to the public for answers.

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