Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Guest Post: Is Mayor Phyllis Morris proroguing Council?

Posted by auroracitizen on January 6, 2010

In the December 31, 2009 edition of the Globe & Mail, the editor took the very unusual position of publishing an editorial “Democracy Diminished, Accountability Avoided” on the front page.

The editor was taking the federal government and Prime Minister Harper to task for proroguing Parliament – the second December in a row that he has done this. More scathing than the words in this editorial was the fact that it was juxtaposed to a story on the death of 4 members of the Canadian Armed Forces and a Canadian journalist. A stark contrast – people are dying while fighting for Canada and for reporting on that, while the government that tasks those people uses political manipulation to duck responsibilities associated with that task.

Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but remind you of anything or anyone?

The Aurora Council last met on December 8th and its next meeting is scheduled for January 26th. The procedural bylaw states that there are to be 2 meetings per month, yet there is a stretch of 39 days between meetings. Is the Mayor proroguing Council? What reason (legitimate or otherwise) has been given?

She wouldn’t be trying to duck anything, would she? Like the fact that the Town does not have a legally appointed Treasurer?

This is inexcusable behavior, but sadly, typical of what we have come to expect.

Signed, Junius

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16 Responses to “Guest Post: Is Mayor Phyllis Morris proroguing Council?”

  1. someone who loves this town more than Anonymous said

    “When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is frankly when it’s rapidly losing its moral authority to govern.” -Stephen Harper Canadian Press, April 18, 2005

    Is Mayor Morris taking leadership cues from our PM?

    To say we need better leaders is an understatement

  2. Horrified said

    The Committee to Unseat Mayor Morris which meets on a regular basis on this website (I profess to be a sympatizer, but not a member) would be better served offering up substantive critique. Lord knows it exists, and to be fair, much of it has been identified and discussed here.

    But this “proroguing” is more than a stretch; it is a smear. Basic fact checking could have shown that the meeting schedule is determined long in advance.

    If it was just this, I wouldn’t comment. But it’s not just this. I’m sure that if it was reported that Mayor Morris was seen walking on water, there’d be a host of characters pounding away here that “Mayor Morris can’t swim.”

    I’m reminded that sometime late last year someone on this site offered up dark speculation surrounding the Mayor closing the blinds to her office. Perhaps she got a little creeped out by someone staring in at her.

    I’m also reminded that the Aurora Coalition is actually making a FOI request about who the Dream Team is. The Aurora Coalition fully deserves to receive the official answer that it was a US Basketball team assembled for the 1992 Olympics.

    What’s my point? My point is that ridiculous and petty snarking and accusations from “the opposition” can backfire. There’s enough of it here and via the Aurora Coalition that a spin doctor may successfully paint the critics as cranks.

    Be careful about that.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Well said Horrified. My feelings exactly. If there is to be a successful campaign to replace the council with members that have the Town’s interests at heart, the campaign must be intelligent, well thought out and not into hyperbole. Every time Morris or one of her allies does something that can be construed as bad, the same group jump all over it. I have written about this before. It’s sort of the catching flies with honey rather than vinegar thing.

      Fuimus

    • Hugo T. Kroon said

      Hear, Hear!
      At least one more resident of Aurora shows signs of the resurgance of common sense.
      How many are you up to now?
      Three? Or is it four?…
      Or perhaps common sense is shown by those who stay above the “ridiculous and petty snarking and accusations” usually found on this site?
      Perhaps…

    • Anonymous IN Aurora said

      It figures, as soon as Horrified mentioned “cranks” the Bard of Bethesda had to show up.

  3. Joe said

    What is the cut-off date for signing candidacy papers?
    What is the date when campaign literature can be available?
    What is the official date that the election campaign begins?

    • Nigel Kean said

      Joe,
      Check the Town of Aurora website and click on Election 2010. All the information iss there.

  4. Annette said

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe!🙂. I’ll go and read some more!

  5. Junius said

    Robert the Bruce,

    As you correctly point out, the last council meeting of 2008 was December 9th, and the first council meeting of 2009 was January 20th. A total of 6 weeks. This year it is 7. And, yes, there was some hyperbole in my post.

    However, a common refrain we hear from Council, or at least some members, is “let’s get on with the business of the town”. Typically this is heard when such trivial matters, such as why the Integrity Commissioner was fired, are brought out. It is difficult to do business when there are no official meetings.

    And, what business should the town be getting on with? Well, there are a number of things, but first and foremost, I would suggest that they should be in compliance with the Municipal Act, which requires the appointment of a Treasurer.

    Specifically, the Act (section 287, subsection 1)states: “A municipality shall appoint a treasurer who is responsible for handling all of the financial affairs of the municipality on behalf of and in the manner directed by the council of the municipality”.

    Please note the use of the word “shall”.

    As Mr. Elliot’s contract expired December 31, 2009, the Town of Aurora does NOT have a Treasurer. Mr. Elliot has been appointed as the Director of Corporate & Financial Services (and a different post can discuss that whole process).

    But, the only way they can have a Treasurer is by Bylaw. There is no option here.

    So, we have a situation where Council is not meeting for 7 weeks – 3 of which were leading up to the known end of Mr. Elliott’s contract and 4 of which the Town will not have the mandated position of Treasurer filled.

    To cover that slight gaff, Mr. Garbe sent out an email Dec 9th announcing the appointment of Mr. Elliott to the Director of Corporate & Financial Services responsible for Finance, IT & HR.

    Then, to cover the gaff of implying the Treasurer’s position, sent out an email on Dec 10, advising that “The by-law to appoint Dan to the statutory role of Treasurer will be presented to Council in January, which only Council can approve”. At least Mr. Garbe recognizes that the position is Statutory.

    So, why am I droning on about this?

    Councilor Buck pointed out these slight discrepancies in the December 15 edition of the Auroran. Mayor Morris countered that the following week stating the proper process had been followed. IT SHOULD NOT TAKE A legal opinion TO state that, no, proper process has not been followed.

    So, once again, Ms. Morris, self professed expert in law, HR and how-to-run-meetings, is again telling “porkies”.

    And, by putting off the resumption of council until the end of January, she is, probably correctly, assuming that 99% of the electorate will have forgotten about this (indeed if it was ever on their radar). And, then, she won’t be in the position of actually having to admit that Councilor Buck is correct.

    Is this grasping at straws? Quite the contrary. It goes to the heart of the matter. Policies and Procedures are the core of our parliamentary system of government. Otherwise, we are back to the devine right of Kings (or perhaps that should be Queens).

    Ms. Morris has successfuly manipulated many situations to benefit herself and her agenda. As it appears that neither the Banner nor the Auroran wish to report on this, it is necessary to do it here.

    It is certainly not grasping at straws if you happen to be one of the people whose career has been destroyed – and no this is not hyperbole. If she is re-elected how many more will that be?

    So, Robert, this is a rather long response to your reply, and if you have read through to the end, then thanks. It’s just that I get very wound up over this type of crap.

    Junius

    • Countdown to Oct said

      Junius, THIS is what should have been in your original post. Details, details, details.
      Keep at it.

    • Anonymous said

      You’re too kind Junius. The CAO’s “cover” does nothing to change the facts. For sometime now the position of Director of Finance has also been the Treasurer and the CAO knows that. So when the CAO announced that Mr. Elliott would be the Director of Finance, he was by default announcing the appointment of the Treasurer.

      If he wasn’t announcing this, that would mean that position of Treasurer is still open and that the search for a Treasurer continues. It means between now and the appointment by bylaw, Mr. Elliot cannot perform any duties of the Treasurer. Start preparing your FOI requests.

      If the GOS have to go in 2010, then so must some of the staff. Public servants should serve the public, not their political masters.

  6. Robert the Bruce said

    Interesting concept.

    Is this any different than previous December/January combinations? For example, December 2008 there was meeting on December 9th and the next meeting was January 20th, 2009. The meeting dates are published, was there a cancellation of a previous scheduled meeting?

    I am sure that there will be those that say I am a Morris supporter – I am not – but I think you are looking for something that is not there and speculating on it makes the anti-MorMac side of things appear to grasp at straws.

    Just my $0.02.

    Fuimus

    • Countdown to Oct said

      I agree with RTB. I’m certainly not a supporter of Morris and her co-horts, but posts like this do not illustrate anything substantive.
      I vote RTB writes a post. All in favour?

    • anonymous said

      To RTB
      All of these dates 2008 and 2009 were under mormac’s reign

    • Edward Longshanks said

      “I vote RTB writes a post. All in favour?”

      Okay, and I’ll give the 2¢ – but only if he doesn’t include the word, “Fuimus”.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Countdown…. I may write a post if there was something worth writing about. Give me a topic.

      Anonymous, I only listed those years for convenience, I was in a hurry. It would be interesting to go back in time to review previous examples.

      Edward Longshanks, coming into town to take our women again?! “Fuimus” is the latin motto for the Bruce Clan. Fuimus literally means “we have been”. It is often interpreted as “We have endured” or “We have always been”. I think it is appropriate for Aurora too – especially in these dark times.

      Regarding this topic though. I think that valid critics of the current Town Council are welcome. I still feel that they must have some foundation of truth to them. To equate Morris with Stevie Harper is crazy. He clearly has a plan and method to fulfill that plan. Morris is sliding down the hill on a toboggan with no way to control where she is going. The entire 2010 meeting schedule is on the town’s web site now. I would hazard a guess that a year ago, the 2009 schedule was there too – not even Morris is smart enought to plan a 7 week layover because to let things cool off. Should there have been a special meting called to deal with the outstanding issues? Perhaps – but how much objection would there have been from other to cut their Christmas vacations short to deal with this issue, considering the Mayor thinks all is well?

      FUIMUS !!!

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