Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

A Monument to the Leadership of Mayor Phyllis Morris

Posted by auroracitizen on April 18, 2010

After reading of the latest departure of Peter Horvath after 19 years as the Municipal Manager of Operations, we thought we have a look at the legacy that is Phyllis Morris.

There has been debate about who and when to name streets in Aurora after. So here’s a thought. How about naming streets after town staff who have been fallen by the Phyllis Morris dictatorship. (Note tongue placed firmly in cheek with no disrespect to those who served in the armed forces). We could build an entire subdivision and not run out of names.

Possibly we should erect a monument with Mayor Morris perched triumphantly on top, with the ever-expanding list of the departed chiselled below, so we could remember her legacy long after she is gone. She is determined to be remembered– possibly this is her legacy.

Councillor Buck began a list. We thought we would update it as it continues to grow. If we have missed anyone, please send a note and we will update. 

  1. Councillor
  2. Chief Administrative Officer (fired)
  3. Director of Planning (early retirement)
  4. Integrity Commissioner (fired after delivering his first report)
  5. Treasurer (resigned day new Chief Administrative Officer commenced employment & replaced by appointment by new CAO without a formal recruitment process)
  6. Public Works Director
  7. Acting Public Works Director
  8. Manager of Works Operations
  9. Solicitor
  10. Assistant Solicitor
  11. Clerk/Director of Corporate Services (took early retirement)
  12. Clerk/Director of Corporate Services (left after only 8 months into 5 year contract)
  13. Administrative Assistant Director of Corporate Services
  14. Deputy Clerk
  15. Human Resources Officer
  16. Manager of Bylaw Services
  17. Council Secretary
  18. Administrative Assistant to the Mayor and Council
  19. Economic Development Officer (chose not to renew contract)
  20. Museum Curator (replaced as a paid position by Mayor’s friend and campaign organiser Ken Whitehurst)
  21. Heritage Planner

These are all significant positions that represent a considerable corporate memory — there are probably more that didn’t make the papers. So aside from the impact on employee morale, the historical memory that has been lost is significant. Plus the loss of productivity as new staff begin to understand their role and issues that are within their new job.

The financial loss is incalculable — but significant.

That’s it for now, so please send in any others who have departed this term so we have a complete record — just in case Phyllis needs the list for her monument.

14 Responses to “A Monument to the Leadership of Mayor Phyllis Morris”

  1. I'm Just Curious said

    Okay, another question. I’m watching tonight’s council meeting (I know now the pronunciation of Mr Guy Poppe’s name, by the way). It’s been some time since I’ve caught a meeting on TV.

    Anyway, what I’m wondering is, does the mayor have a new (or re-fashioned) chain-of-office? I may be mistaken, but I recall an actual, large linked chain with the emblems/discs. Wasn’t she always pulling it up to drape it over her shoulders when it slipped? Now, it looks like something much more substantial, more grand, with additional embellishments.

    Is it a different chain-of-office?

    • I'm Still Curious said

      So, is it a new or re-fashioned chain-of-office? Councillor Buck, any thoughts regarding this query?

  2. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    “Imagine if this was a publicly traded corporation and not only were the staff issues the same, but the costs, legal as well as severance and recruitment, affected the bottom line to the same degree.”

    I’d like to point out that government isn’t a publicly traded or privately owned corporation. It’s government. It has its own rules. And them’s the rules, whether you like it or not.

    It’s not just taxpayers who have a say. Every citizen has a chance to vote, and every vote will count equally at election time.

    Before and after election time, not all votes seem to count equally. Well, why not? Choose your supporters wisely, I guess.

    • Thanks will be Given come October said

      Elizabeth, all citizens can vote, but it’s the taxpayers that end up footing the bill for legal fees, severance packages and endless studies. My point was to highlight the excesses this Mayor promotes and tolerates.

  3. Richard Johnson said

    I have asked the Town Clerk, John Leach, to clarify if the management staff turn over during the current Council’s term is typical or is an anomaly. I also asked if a staff report was requested by Council in this regard and Mr. Leach was good enough to promptly inform me that no one from Council has apparently requested a report that compares the current staff turn over rate with the turn over rate of the previous two or three Councils.

    I will continue in my effort to get further clarification from the town, but given my past experience I can only hope that I will not have to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in an effort to get the desired answer.

    FYI… John Leach can be reached at

    • Richard Johnson said

      As a result of my recent inquiries, I was asked by the Clerk to submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in order to establish if in fact the recent spate of management turnovers is typical or some kind of an anomaly. I submitted my request along with $5 yesterday, therefore some form of answer is expected within 30 days.

    • Richard Johnson said

      The town has responded to my FOI request (which they asked me to send in). They are now calculating how much money it will cost me to get the desired answer as to if the staff turn-over rate during this term of Council is typical.

      I suspect they will come up with a very high dollar figure, but we will just have to wait and see. You can clearly see what direction this is going…

  4. White Knight said

    I find it chilling to see them all listed. At various places of work over the years I have always seen people come and go but never this number over this period of time from this size of organization. It makes an enormous negative statement about the so-called leaders.

  5. Richard Johnson said

    Once again we should refer to Mayor’s inaugural speech in 2006…

    So let’s not forget one thing.
    Aurora voters – sent a strong message that they expect us – Council, Staff and Mayor
    to do a better job – a better job of working together to move the business of this town
    forward in a positive and productive atmosphere.
    The word most often used during the recent election was “teamwork.”
    Some say there’s a difference between being on a team and serving on Council.
    The only difference is the lack of uniforms – not the spirit, perspective, or ethics.
    I believe an effective team requires players with a diversity of strengths and points of
    So, yes, as Mayor, I will stress teamwork.
    As Mayor, I promise to be fair and supportive – and I believe the public expects the
    same of all members of Council.
    You’ll find that I’m a “hands on” Mayor, interested in the day-to-day operation of our town.

    Together We Can… be a more caring community, improving life for people who need our support. [ My NOTE: the town now funds recreation, parks, culture and even a paid person for the Canada Day parade, but not one dime goes to the local food bank that support 60 families a year !]

    Together We Can… foster an open and accountable government, where leadership is impartial and allows ideas to be discussed, where teamwork is valued. And where the public is invited to contribute. [ My NOTE: how does this jibe with the posting that remains on the front page of the town’s website in which Councillor Buck is attacked while others on Council get off Scott-free for their actions ? … not to mention the firing of the integrity commissioner or the huge dollars being spent on legal action of all sorts resulting from Council’s new and improved approach to ethics and good government ?]

    Full speech can be found at this website…. LINK:

    • Richard Johnson said

      Mayor: “Together We Can… foster an open and accountable government, where leadership is impartial and allows ideas to be discussed, where teamwork is valued.”

      [My note: how does the above statement jibe with the town demanding that citizens submit Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in order to get simple answers of when local reporters are stone walled by the town ? How does this jibe with Councillor MacEachern and Councillor Gaertner slamming Councillor Buck, or the Mayor slamming local land owners, on camera ? How does this jibe with the town’s lawyer trying to stifle information from being shared on this website ? How does this statement jibe with the departure of one Councillor and what appears to be the significant staff turnover during this Council term ? How does this jibe with the increase in legal fees, law suites and even the use of a cease and desist order against the Mayor (by a former Integrity Commissioner, no less)? How does this jibe with the Mayor apparently ignoring on a frequent basis the input of at least three councilors and her apparent use of procedural manipulation to have her way ? I’ll leave it to you to reconcile as you see fit. ]

  6. Anonymous also said

    This is only interesting if the turnover is significantly higher pro-rata than during other terms. It obviously LOOKs like a lot, but lacks the comparitive. Does that information exist anywhere?

  7. annoyomous said

    Head by-law Officer-gone

  8. Thanks will be Given come October said

    Imagine if this was a publicly traded corporation and not only were the staff issues the same, but the costs, legal as well as severance and recruitment, affected the bottom line to the same degree.

    Would the stockholders have replaced the president by now?

    Well we the taxpayers and voters of Aurora are the stockholders.

    Next stockholders meeting is in 190 days.

    Be there.

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