Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Leadership By The Numbers

Posted by auroracitizen on February 4, 2010

Council Watch #4 – by Richard Johnson

Mayor Morris is paid $50,000 (plus) to attend Regional Council so let’s take a look at her attendance record:

  • Regional Council:  attended 7 out of 11 meetings (64%)
  • Finance and planning:  attended 3 out of 4 meetings (75 %)
  • Planning and Economic development:  5 meetings out of 9 (55%)  keeping in mind that 2009 was the year of Economic Development !

Out a possible 24 meetings, Phyllis attended only 15 or 62%…

In the case of the Hydro Task Force that met on a weekly to bi-weekly basis for approximately 18 months I would venture a guess that Phyllis attended under 10% of the meetings and even the special meeting that was called largely to benefit her understanding of the issues as well as to better understand her take on the situation, she showed up an hour late to an hour and a half meeting and proceeded to demonstrate an extremely poor grasp of not only the history of the issue but the identified need as well as the viable alternatives.

Then we note that in the past three years only a single motion was put forward by the Mayor at Aurora Council while Councillor MacEachern put forward 50 motions and got but one of them passed with the support of her voting block.

Numbers do have a way of painting a picture.

20 Responses to “Leadership By The Numbers”

  1. Interested Observer said

    Still looking at all the numbers, 73% of the recorded votes going 8-1 or 7-1 or something, I’m not sure if that is the “voting block” everyone keeps refering to?

    • Richard Johnson said

      When a core group of people vote the same way virtually ALL OF THE TIME there is a voting block. Granted that voting blocks are common in party politics, however at the municipal level I think that people expect independent thinking and we were promised a government in which input from all sources would be sought out and valued.

      Clearly Councillor Buck is on the outside looking in and Councillors Collins-Mrakas, McRoberts and even Councillor Wilson to a lesser degree, at least sometimes demonstrate that they are independent thinkers. That said, more often than not the Mayor does not appear to value what they and others have to say, even on matters where they may be far more qualified or proficient than others in the Mayor’s inner circle.

      When you see that 49 of 50 resolutions crafted by Evelina MacEachern are passed and when you see Councillor MacEachern and Ken Whitehurst writing their own recreation report even after the town has spent $50,000 on obtaining a third party professional report then no one can deny that there is a very distinct block / inner circle that is having its way.

      The Mayor does not always do her homework and quite clearly she is being influenced and swayed by a few select people, regardles of the facts. This is not the government of consultation, consideration, respect, professionalism, integrity and transparency that we were promised. This is autocratic government by smoke and mirrors. A few people that have the undying support of a few blind followers are riding roughshod over everyone and everything else.

      No one is saying this is not democracy in action but you don’t have to like it. When you have Councillors being appointed with no election, when you have close friends of the Mayor’s getting plum jobs and writing secondary reports for council, and when you see staff being treated they way they have been treated you have to take note of what is going on and make your call the next time you decide if this is the way you want to town run.

    • Yoda said

      Careful where you tread young apprentice. Say not something that would be perceived as Buck-bashing.

    • Interested Observer said

      Thank you Master Yoda. I appreciate the wisdom and will try to “feel the force.” My feeling would be that Councillor Buck would be more effective by identifying her objectives and working within the process to accomplish improvement in Aurora rather than being the one that is constantly yelling “the rebel forces are attacking.” Otherwise we end up with Chicken Little syndrome and an entertaining New World Order conspiracy blog that some have turned this into. “May the force be with you.”

    • Anonymous said

      Ah, yes, Evelina and her resolutions. Apparently she is becoming increasingly annoyed when the Mayor wades in and tries to formulate them more to her own liking. A crack in the MorMac twinset?

    • Thanks will be Given come October said

      If a competent opponent for the Mayor’s chair appears on the horizon Phyllis’s phone number will be off Evil Leena’s speed dial in a heart beat. If you look up ‘opportunistic’ in the dictionary, Leena’s picture is right there.

  2. evelyn buck said

    The only reason I respond to The Bruce’s comments is because he offers a rational to support his contention. He uses his experience in private employment to support his arguments.
    If you have to stay late to complete a project Robert, you control the time it takes. You get it done.
    A set time for a Council to complete am agenda is not a number pulled out from a hat.
    The proficiency of the proceedings rest on the skill of the presiding member.
    When the chairperson is more interested in using Council as a showcase for her various roles other than processing town business, there is conflict.
    An average of the first ninety minutes of every council meeting is occupied by all the caring organisations the Mayor encounters in her travels, invited to take advantage of the cameras present to cover council meetings.
    The rest of us are a captive audience while the Mayor plays her Mother Theresa role.
    Sometimes awards are presented for the second time during a council meeting.
    We have pre-orchestrated debates with individual councillors asking assigned questions and reading their prescribed lines.

    We have a chairperson doing more talking than anyone else and inviting staff to participate and refute whatever alternate points might be made in debate.

    Even with a skilled and impartialchair, it is acknowledged by experience, when people have been talking for two hours, much of it undirected, tempers fray and things are said which were better left unsaid.
    If at ten-thirty, the hour of adjournment, something useful is being accomplished, I stay.
    If what’s happening is the Mayor’s endless chatter, I swear she reaches a point when she no longer knows how to stop,that’s when I leave.

    Tis a far better thing I do then than stay and say what I am thinking.

    I know what I committed when I placed my name before the public for election to office to oversee the town’s business. It’s not what goes on in that Council Chamber when the hour grows late and councillors are long past making any sense.

    To say nothing of the cost for professional staff to be chained to their chairs, serving no useful purpose whatsoever.

  3. Richard Johnson said

    I need to point out a few corrections required. My appologies.

    “MacEachern put forward 50 motions and got ALL but one of them passed with the support of her voting block.”

    The following are slightly revised attendance records:

    Regional Council meetings:
    December 16th – attended
    November 19th – not attended
    October 22nd – Attended
    September 24th – Attended
    June 25th – Attended
    May 28th (special meeting) – not attended
    May 21st – Attended
    April 23rd – Attended
    March 26th – not attended
    February 19th – Attended
    January 22nd – Attended

    11 meetings held
    8 meetings attended
    3 meetings NOT attended
    Absenteeism rate: 28% of the meetings were missed

    Planning and Economic Development Committee:
    December 16th attended
    November 4th Not attended
    October 7th attended
    September 10th attended
    June 17th, Not attended
    April 8th Not attended
    March 4th Not attended
    February 4th attended
    January 7th attended

    9 meetings held
    5 meetings attended
    4 meetings NOT attended
    Absenteeism rate: 45%

  4. Thanks will be Given come October said

    As a matter of fact some statistics do exist, those pesky old reports can re-appear at the darndest times!

    For instance in 2005, between Council, Council in Camera, General Committee, and Public Planning there were 95 meetings. Attendance?

    Well, the Mayor of the day: attended 92 of 95 or 97%

    Mayor of today: Oops, missed 26 of 95 or only 73% attendance (Of all the councillors she was the second worst)

    Oh, and just for the record, Councillor Buck? A gold star I’m afraid, 97% as well.

    Stay tuned.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      What about statistics about members of council that actually stayed until the meeting was adjourned?


    • Edward Longshanks said

      It’s good to see that Cllr Buck’s criticism of some of your remarks isn’t bothering you, Robert.

    • Anonymous said

      hey RTB

      Do you mean the hour of adjournment or when the Mayor decides to adjourn the meeting….Someone should do stats on how many times in this term that a meeting has extended past the hour of adjournment.

      I for one have no problem with a councilor leaving the meeting once its past 10:30 which is the time for adjournment….

      What i do have a problem with is councilors that ask stupid questions and talk just to hear the sound of their voice and cause every meeting to be extended past the hour of adjournment.

    • Hey! said

      Why do any of them stay till the meetings are adjourned. If the Councillors just stated their points and got on with things then NO one would have to stay long past the set hour of adjournment! Robert you are going after Evelyn again! You like to do that. You say you don’t but you do. She is only doing what she said she would do. She stands up for what she believes, Can any of the others say the same? If she needs to stay she does. But come on when people like Wendy G can ask for a repeat of the last fifteen minutes because she did not understand any of what was said after hearing it six years in a row. I don’t think I would stay till the end either. There are no discussions at Aurora Council meetings. There is smoke and then the mirror. These people take way to long to cover up the fact they have already been told the out come before the meeting ever started and then take six hours instead of three to present the drama. Get off the pot Robert time to pick on someone else!

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Did I say Councillor Buck? You have drawn the line between the two….

      Extending the meetings are a problem and the reasons for extending them has been discussed here and I have no argument with any of those reasons and the problems that create them. However, if a member of council honestly has the Town’s interest at heart, is it not their duty to see the agenda through it’s natural conclusion? In my work, you may have to stay late to get the job done. It’s part of my work ethic.

      Maybe my initial question. to keep the Buck supporters happy, should have asked about statistics for members leaving early, arriving late, etc.


      PS – For those that read everything that Ms. Buck says about me on her blog and beleive it, there are 2 side to every story – she is only showing you her side!

    • Hey! said

      Nobody said I was a Buck supporter. You just seemed to always find your way there. You are absolutely right when you say there are two sides to every story. But in the case of Aurora Council there should more then 2 sides! We read yours and we read Buck`s but we never hear from any of the rest do we. Do they have a side that is truly their own are are they so beaten down they are afraid to express it. Sorry my question mark is a French e
      I do however support Evelyn in her right to write things the way she sees it, just as I support your right to do the same.
      And as far seeing the agenda to the end. THIS IS A PART TIME JOB and should reflect the same in the hours of the adjuornment!!! 7-10:30 PM as required in the Procedural Bylaw!!

  5. fed up said

    Be interesting to see how these numbers compare to our last couple of mayors–anybody know the answer?

  6. KB said

    Good work Richard! Keep the facts coming. “Her craziness” will try to refute them, but now the truth is right there in front of everyone’s eyes. Only 8 more months and counting!

  7. Anna said

    Ouch, I guess numbers do tell a story.
    Thanks for sharing, and painting a better picture.
    Hopefully next time we will make a better choice.

    Anna [Living in Aurora Blogger]

  8. Anonymous for a Reason said

    Richard, this would be an excellent letter to the editor of the print media. Call her out for an answer.

    It seems Mayor Morris is too busy snubbing Christopher Watts in Shoppers Drug Mart to have time to attend Regional meetings. Check out his Temporary Sanity blog entry…..HILARIOUS!

    • Richard Johnson said

      I agree that a lot of letters are in order but I write too many of them as it is. If you want to take a stab at this issue be sure to use the subsequent statistics I provided on February 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Of course we know that after writing three or four Council updates in what was to be an ongoing series of updates that were to run in the Auroran the Mayor has stopped the updates all together and made it known that she no longer reads the paper. Two way communication is clearly not what the Mayor is looking for when it invovers questioning her Worship’s divine right to spin.

      The Banner has not run the last two letters I submitted so I am clearly black-balled. They also say you can write 500 words but I am not so sure they will run such “long” letters. At least a couple of times I have found that the Banner has edited my letters and completely changed their meaning in the process but that said, I admit that I do need all the help I can get with correcting type-os, which assiostance has not alweays been forthcoming.

      Good luck and may the force be with you.

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