Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Guest Opinion: Aurora Is Worse Off Today Than When Phyllis Morris Became Mayor?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 7, 2010

Some might say Phyllis Morris and Evelina MacEachern are liars and hypocrites. Apparently obsessed with their manic egos, they have held Aurora’s Council hostage to their deranged approach to government. The vaunted Transparency and/or Accountability that were promised in their respective campaigns for office in the 2006 Municipal Elections were a complete fraud.

They co-opted four of the stupidest possible councillors to act as their surrogates in following along blindly the path laid out for them.

It appears that Morris and MacEachern embarked upon a mission to destroy the very Transparency and Accountability that marked their election campaigns. Instead we have a repugnant Code of Conduct for Council and an unnecessary Integrity Commissioner.

When the Code of Conduct faltered, the Integrity Commissioner reported on the charges laid by six members of Council against Evelyn Buck, to the effect that they had no merit and were politically motivated. His reward was his unceremonious firing.

The town recently entered into a contract with a new Integrity Commissioner, a former politician now practicing law. It is doubtful that this replacement has anywhere near the academic and professional qualifications of our first Integrity Commissioner. And up to $60,000 is allocated for this activity. Time and events will tell.

Seemingly, Morris is personally responsible for the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars, many completely wasted, in hiring a substantially larger bureaucratic staff, renaming and restructuring senior executive staff titles, positions and responsibilities. Has this streamlined our local government? No. On the contrary it has created a larger body of personnel whose sole task appears to be to do her bidding.

It is likely that all of these changes have led to staff concerns; many reports comment about the fear of staff for their jobs. It is inconceivable that the town’s employees are at a higher level of morale than they were when the Morris-MacEachern juggernaut first rolled into town. If staff morale is negatively affected it follows that the level and efficiency of their work will suffer significantly, and consequently impact upon Aurora’s residents.

Our town doles out hundreds of thousands of dollars of public purse dollars to various non-elected Committees; The Historical Society, the Arboretum, the July 1st Parade, the Farmers’ Market. These groups do what they wish with the town’s ‘generosity.’ They spend the money with no accountability to anyone. This is not the way to run a government whose promised objective was Transparency and Accountability. If a public company operated this way it would be subject to the scrutiny of the OSC in Ontario, to the SEC in the U.S., and possible prosecution by each.

Many residents feel that vast amounts of taxpayer dollars have been spent stupidly, whether in financing losing and futile OMB appeals or in needless internal investigations supported by a claque of lawyers whose sole interest is running up their legal fees. Many residents are of the opinion that these parasites care not for what is right or in the best interests of the town. And the bills are approaching $750,000, if not more.

Why do we set aside money every year to buy recreational land when it already exists? Instead we are selling off much of Aurora’s public lands, adding the proceeds to the millions of dollars already in the town’s “savings” account.

We will be cash rich and land poor and the land that we will eventually have to purchase will be twice or more as expensive as that of four or five years ago when we already had a huge cash balance in the bank.

It is felt by many that a request should to be sent to the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to conduct a forensic audit of the books of the Town of Aurora in order to identify those areas where public money has been gratuitously squandered with no possible benefit to the town and its residents.

A similar audit should probably also be undertaken to determine just how political decision-making in Aurora occurs. Are decisions made by members of Council or by hired lawyers?

To Morris and MacEachern a Code of Conduct appears to be a license to abuse.


4 Responses to “Guest Opinion: Aurora Is Worse Off Today Than When Phyllis Morris Became Mayor?”

  1. evelyn buck said

    There was no business plan or budget submitted by the Historical Society prior to this term. They continue to receive $50ks. per annum while a new budget for the Heritage and Cultural Centre is half a million dollars.
    The “Dream Team” organising the July 1st Parade receives thousands of yax dollars from the town treasury.

    The Farmers’ Market was on Temperance Street to encourage shoppers to visit the down town. It was not in the vicinity of the band shell to accommodate a jazz festival. It had no budget…no manager. Now it has $10ks with remuneration included for a manager to be hired. No fees for facilities were waived. Permit fees were collected to cover cost of set-up.
    The Arboretum was a volunteer group which received funds from individuals to plant trees in memoriam.
    Now they have an allocation from the town which allowed them to contract out work they had been doing voluntarily, the scope of which became too great for them to handle becuase of the money they received friom the town. This year the allocation went to $100. even when they had been unable to spend $20ks of the previous allocation.
    Significant allocations are being made to non-elected organisations to spend as they see fit. Thatis fact not speculation.

    Being politically correct is fine as long as one is politically correct.

    • evelyn buck said

      The budget for July 1st Parade includes $2ks remuneration for an “assistant” to be hired . That’s in addition to town staff who are qualified and competent to manage town Special Events.

      The Arboretum allocation is $100Ks. not $100 as noted above.That’s in addition to the $20ks they had no time to spend in 2009.

      The predominantly Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee are also authorizing expenditures from taxes as well. .

  2. Caligula, we respect and appreciate your comment. Our goal is to stimulate discussion and try to a provide a forum for all points of view without applying our own yardstick other than opinion should not be presented as facts.

    Of interest, in our quest to uphold this standard, we asked the writer to modify slightly from an earlier version to reduce potential confusion and ensure that our readers understood this was an opinion.

    We trust you will continue to bring additional facts forward for discussion and to share your opinions.

  3. Caligula said

    I have read this blog for a long time and while I agree with most of the sentiment, I am becoming concerned that the extremeness (is that a word) of the postings of late are not going to bebefit the cause.

    We can all agree that it appears the councillors on-board with Morris are not “bright” but to call them stupid is not proper. If they were “stupid” how did they get in the position that they are in? Who’s stupid? Some of them were re-elected!!

    To comment on the passing of money to unelected committees is somewhat erroneous. These committees were not formed 3 1/2 years ago. They have been receiving money from council for years. Has the requirement changed since MorMac?

    Are you suggesting we incur more legal costs for an audit? Who will pay for that?

    I think we need to stick to facts, not speculation. We need to take out emotional responses and show a united front against this administration.

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