Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Accountability and Transparency

Posted by auroracitizen on October 5, 2009

The Aurora Coalition has published their third ad in a continuing series. Of interest, this one has increased to a full 1/2 page which may suggest that financial support has increased.

The initial focus of this ad is the lack of teamwork demonstrated by this Council, in spite of promises by Mayor Morris in her Inaugural Speech that we would see an improvement versus the Jones era. An era in which she was the major contributor to the dysfunction — some might suggest as a strategy to aid her own chances of election.

The ad goes on to highlight the legal costs that have been incurred by this Council for reasons that have little to do with the management of the Town and demanding a detailed statement of expenditures for these expenses.

Both these issues led to a question about the Accountability and Transparency demonstrated by this Council and a final suggestion that the only way to “rid ourselves of the arrogance on Council” will be for people to come forward to stand for public office and then get the vote out in 2010. The have also provided an email address where they can be contacted at auroracoalition@gmail.com

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25 Responses to “Accountability and Transparency”

  1. Anonymous for a reason said

    Almost $90K to Hicks Morley? They are top dogs for employment law for the management side of things. Somebody must have needed some extra special attention on their exits.

  2. Way More Than She Said said

    It would also help to know the specific issue attached to each cited expenditure. Which legal expenses are for TRUE Town business?

    Which are for dubiously opposing the Lebovic OMB case (millionaires versus bigger millionaires)? What was shelled out in the wake of ridding herself of staff that wouldn’t or couldn’t play by her rules and practices? (Those ‘resignations’, ‘retirements’, ‘severances’ and ‘wrongful dismissals’ all add up. Hicks, Morley is a downtown firm that advocates for management in employment law disputes)

    But especially important, how much has been spent pursuing various political agendas and personal vendettas?

  3. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    Exactly what I would like to see as well Heather. It is one thing to put up the numbers, it is another to put up the equivalent numbers from previous years so that a proper analysis can take place.

  4. Heather Sisman said

    “Has anyone contacted the “Aurora Coalition”?”

    I emailed them about this recent ad – to ask whether they had a comparison from the last council’s first 2 1/2 years of legal fees. I wasn’t expecting a response, which is exactly what I got.

  5. Anonymous for a reason said

    The fourth ad is in this week’s Auroran. This time detailing outside legal expenses. Has anyone contacted the “Aurora Coalition”? Not sure what “they” are expecting.

  6. Anonymous said

    When is mayor morris going to give an answer as to the accountability of her friend St Kitts? When will she allow the truth to come out about the money raised and spent by the Dream Team? When will all of the facts be made pyblic?
    What are you hiding?
    This will be the downfall of this mayor. She is hiding something or why would a proper report not be released?
    Come on GOS. Get some backbone and stand up to this mayor. Let her know that will not be led down the garden path.Do you guys and ladies have any ideas of your own or are you going to go down with the mayor in the next election.

  7. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    To Countdown To Nov 2010

    In relation to my letter on the town website.

    I will not deny that this letter was a bold step. It is one thing to think something, another to say it and quite another to put it in writing.

    Sometime those of us think things but we just don’t say them, other times there is a lot of chatter but no one takes the first step to writing it down.

    This was exactly what I was targeting with this letter, complacency.

    The inaction of this council are becoming crimes that are far dwarfing their actions.

    The “Economic Development Advisory Committee” has failed to address items on the “”Economic Development Strategy”.

    They are not even failing mildly, our website is on example where the marketing of our town is such a joke that status-quo looks good right now.

    Wendy Gaertner, Evelina MacEachern & Al Wilson all sit on this committee.
    Why? What credentials do they have to qualify them for it?

    They have failed to form or lead a team, source contractors, inject insight and be informed. It is too easy to pass the buck, then make a decision.

    They need to be held accountable, because the more inaction that we endure the greater the burden on whoever it falls to to actually pick up the ball and get the hard work done.

    It is an insult to see forums for “Economic Retention & Expansion” when they already have a strategy which they are to follow. It’s 104 pages, read it!

    Okay so the words were strong, the gloves are off. They need to be.

    As citizens we need to be aware of who is calling the shots, and call them on it when they are off-side, or in this case out of the rink.

  8. Anonymous said

    I agree with Council cop on Oct 8th. I also felt that Morris sat back and let Kean do the dirty work. As a friend, at the time, of both Morris and Kean I thought that Kean would be the next Mayor and not Morris.
    However, Morris fooled most of the voters into believing that she was telling the truth.
    Now I wonder how many of those voters still believe in Morris and how many now know that they were fooled by the many broken promises.
    Who will run against her in the next election? Hogg,Kean,Jones or someone new. How many of the GOS will run again and how many will get re-elected?

  9. Robert the Bruce said

    The Toronto Star has a regular feature (perhaps annually) of a report card of the city councillors. If Ron could give up some space – maybe remove an article about how Aurora was in the ’50s – he could do a similar feature. That feature could list the candidate’s platform and assign a grade to how they have done. This would be especially beneficial now that we are 3/4 through this awful mandate.

    Fuimus

  10. Countdown to Nov 2010 said

    I have a feeling that Gail Swainson of The Star will keep coming back for more. She already knows the players and the game, so keeping current on events in this town makes for a steady stream of material.
    I think Ron needs to hire someone with a journalism background and give them a good long lead.
    Sean Pearce at the Banner is, well, spoon-fed pieces from his pal Phyllis. We can always hope he grows a brass pair and shows some journalistic balance as the electioneering has definitely started. There is always at least two sides to an issue, and he needs to balance the reporting of all. Too often his pieces leave me asking questions.

  11. White Knight said

    Perhaps Rogers can be persuaded to run a “Keeping them honest” spot like CNN did during the US election. Each day they would look at what the candidates said and picked their comments and/or speeches apart by checking for contradictions/untruths etc. and then reporting them on air.

  12. Council Cop said

    To Countdown to Nov 2010:

    Your points are valid ones but just you wait and see… the Mayor’s assessment of her accomplishments will be “glowing” ! Who cares what the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail, the Toronto Sun, CBC News, Roger’s Cable, The Banner or the Auroran have to say ?

    Come election time what we will need is a serious reality check but it remains to be seen how much balanced and detailed reporting will be done.

    I think the key will be who runs and how much they are prepared to call a spade a spade. In the past election Mayor Morris let Nigel Kean and others do the dirty work and she came off looking like someone who was the positive alternative, who would be consensus team builder and who would do away with name calling and bad blood politics. A new and higher standard of municipal government was promised, which sounded like music to the ears of a lot of people. The truth turned out to be something quite different now didn’t it ?

    We will have to see who holds the G6 accountable this time around and how drastically and effectively the Mayor spins her version of events. The Mayor is bound to get caught in her own web of half truths and whacky logic.

    I suspect that all of the blame for all of the problems the Mayor and the G6 have inflicted on themselves, on others and on our town will be blamed on “evil doers” or “those negative people who don’t love this town”. If you listen really hard you can hear the spin doctors ramping up already, with Sher St. Kitts (aka “the woman at the back”) leading the way.

    The sad truth is that Ken Whitehurst will no doubt write the Mayor’s speeches once again and there is also little doubt that he will include all of the things that people want to hear during an election irrespective of what the full picture might in fact be. “There is more work to be done but we will continue to strive for a more functional and civil dialog at council, we have set aside green space but more work has to be done, we have hung out our laundry, but more laundry needs to be done, we have strengthened our cultural foundations but more strengthening needs to be done”… I can hear it now. Ken will also be able to write with a clear conscience that at least some of our pockets are more full now than they were before Phyllis was elected given that both he and the St. Kitts are living proof !

  13. White Knight said

    Bullet point 8 particularly sticks in my craw because, as an anonymous contributor to Aurora Citizen pointed out recently, Mayor Morris and her council majority practice ageism and elder abuse aginst one of their colleagues. Such hypocrisy, but as Rex Murphy said “one has to have principles in the first place in order to be hypocritical.” I haven’t noticed much in the way of principles and integrity from the mayor and 5 councillors.

  14. Countdown to Nov 2010 said

    To SWLTTMTP, maybe Ron could give you a column and you can call the councillors on how their election promises have fallen short. You’re good with the letters to the editor! Although the “bi-polar whore” thing seemed a bit strong dontcha think?
    I look forward to your posts.
    b-t-w posts from Phyllis supporters seem to be a bit thin on the ground since moving to the new format. Hmmmm, why is that do you think? Overdosed on the Kool-aid and in recovery?

  15. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    Agree 100% with Countdown to Nov 2010.

    Except Mrs. Morris doesn’t need to re-read, we do.

    In fact why don’t we go through the other councilors campaign literature and make report cards for all.

    Campaign promises and inaugural addresses are made with such pomp and circumstance, then conveniently thrown by the wayside when the hard decisions and real work start to appear on the scene.

    If these are the promises that get officials elected then we should know the follow through or lack thereof.
    Because we all know that more spin will be produced for the next round of campaign materials.

  16. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    Now is the time. The Aurora Citizen can be the place.

    If you read between the nasty posts and the anonymous posts, you get quite a good discussion, I think.

  17. Countdown to Nov 2010 said

    From Mayor Morris’ inaugral address:

    At the end of our term, here’s how I’ll measure our success:
    • Were we smart and innovative in making Aurora a better place?
    • When a visitor approaches Aurora by road and rail can they see and feel
    they have arrived somewhere special?
    • Have we been good stewards of our environment?
    • Have we looked after our finances?
    • Are more of us living a complete life here – able to work, live and play in
    Aurora?
    • Is family life better?
    • Have we provided our youth with a variety of opportunities – and do they
    feel listened too, as an important part of the community
    • Are our seniors and their caregivers well supported?
    • Is our community well connected by convenient transportation, to and
    from Toronto, and points in-between?
    • Have we built upon the strength of our community’s heritage and historic
    character?
    • And, do we celebrate our accomplishments together?
    But let’s not wait until the end of our council term to measure the success of our
    accomplishments.
    I’ll be suggesting to Council that a process be put in place to regularly determine
    public satisfaction with the work we do.
    * *

    Where is the process to regularly determine public satisfaction with the work they do? She even bailed on the Mayor’s column in the Auroran. Mrs. Morris needs to re-read her inaugral address and see just what promises, if any, have been accomplished this term.

    And they’ll be plenty of people to point out if any of her “successes” were really hers or just happened to come to fruition on her watch so she could attempt to claim them.

    Match her actions to her promises. That is how the residents will be informed and help in their decision making in Nov 2010.

  18. Hold Her feet To The Fire said

    I hope you’re right, Council Cop. If there are further revelations of continued mistakes and misconduct, that can only hinder her chances of re-election. That and having a viable candidate stepping forward at the right time. Fingers crossed.

    I know a former Town employee (there’s more than a few of those) that has spoken to present staffers about the recent controversies. They’re all afraid that voters will have short memories and ‘she who must be obeyed’ will get back in. Shudder.

  19. Anonymous for a reason said

    To Elizabeth – name the time and the place for the meaningful discussion, and I’ll be there.

  20. Countdown to Nov 2010 said

    To Council Cop – I hope your impressions are true. The one thing that we can always count on is Mayor Morris’ delusion that she is always right. Her single-mindedness has brought her thus far, and will be her downfall.

  21. White Knight said

    To Council Cop
    Accusing Mr. Nitkin of “falsifying his resume” is not in the least surprising as many people suggest that the mayor’s posted resume is at the very least questionable with respect to truth. I would say that our mayor has a serious case of not seeing the wood for the trees.

  22. Council Cop said

    I support what was said in the ad in question. It may have been hard hitting in some ways, but it has to be.

    The ad could have mentioned any number of additional examples to make its point but enough was said to make the point.

    That said, I wish it had mentioned the fact that the Mayor has trashed the past Integrity Commissioner’s professional credentials at AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, as well as in the media.

    As a direct result of Mayor Phyllis Morris’ vindictive and self serving attack on Mr. Nitkin she received a cease and desist order that I have reason to believe she promptly ignored only hours after receiving.

    Apparently the Mayor has implied that Mr. Nitkin falsified his resume to the town, which is obviously a very serious allegation against anyone, let alone an Integrity Commissioner who does international consulting in the area of ethical government. I was told that the Mayor actually has suggested that Mr. Nitkin did not in fact provide the services he said he had to AMO and yet his report was posted on the AMO website. Clearly someone has been misleading or quite possibly reckless — so take your pick on who you think it is.

    If I had to place a bet I would say that the Mayor may be creating her own logic and rational in order to justify her otherwise inexplicable and unjustifiable actions. That conclusion would certainly seem to fit with the Mayor’s recent pattern of behavior.

    The trouble that the Mayor now finds herself in the above noted case, as well as any number of cases, appears to be as a direct result of the Mayor walking straight into a hole she has so diligently dug for herself, along with some help from her band of followers.

    If the Mayor responds at all to this latest revelation she will likely deny saying any such thing, so it is her word against another individual who has a professional obligation to be truthful, or she will do her Mayoral best to spin her own reality out of thin air. So stay tuned, this story may not be over just yet.

  23. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    Maybe the coalition needs to abandon anonymity to get credibility. I wish more Aurorans would back their ideals with their names. Do all that many of us actually work for the Town and need the security of anonymity? The opposition to the current state of affairs seems to be well established. We can’t just depend on Evelyn, Bob and Alison to keep carrying the torch.

    Besides that, we need to have a meaningful discussion about what we see in the discussion of ideas that goes beyond the bullying, the ageism, the vitriol, and the venom. These ideas and opinions have appeared as subtle shades in the past discussions, but perhaps they can be found and given another showing.

  24. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I agree with Anonymous 10:47 am.

    I understand the tone, but found the ad long and rambling.
    Perhaps a coalition is redundant, the GOS is being sufficiently hoisted by their own petard and if they continue will simply vote themselves out of office with little outside effort.

    And if any of the GOS has the nerve to seek re-election they should change their M.O. from smashing their heads into walls and listen to Leo Rosten who said:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, before you try again, stop to figure out what you did wrong.”

    Albeit that’s going to be a lot to figure out for these dolts.

  25. Anonymous said

    I don’t like the tone of this ad. As much as I want rid of Mayor Morris and the GOS, I don’t think that the nature of this ad will entice the quality of candidates that this town needs.

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