Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Mayor Morris Continues to Spend Good Money After Bad — With No Real Hope of Success

Posted by auroracitizen on May 20, 2010

One has to wonder about the fiscal responsibility being shown by continuing to invest in this losing battle.
Council must work within the guidelines set out by the Official Plan. Every land owner or developer has the right to expect that Town Council will abide by the rules of law versus make up their own. When they don’t —  they have the legal remedy to appeal to the OMB. “In February, a divisional court dismissed the argument put forth by the town and residents…”
Making up her own rules may work for Mayor Phyllis Morris when she has the votes of 5 Councillors in her pocket, but when she steps outside these boundaries into the real world — one governed by rules not of her own making — we have seen how successful she has been thus far. Not very.
This is just one more example of her complete lack of real leadership experience.
Will Council provide a financial accounting for the legal and staff costs to fight this development rather than working to get Aurora the best deal possible? We doubt it. It would prove too costly for the incumbents re-election dreams.
Surely she wouldn’t have us believe that releasing the price being spent would be considered “exposing their legal strategy”? The amount spent on legal and the actual strategy are two different conversations.
The only strategy it might expose is their complete lack of fiscal accountability when it involves spending our money on pet projects — with no gain to the citizens of Aurora as a whole.
Perhaps Mayor Phyllis Morris is counting on people forgetting the waste of our tax dollars on the unwarranted legal bills when the election comes this October. We doubt that too!
By Sean Pearce, May 14, 2010 – 4:00 PM
Aurora hires experts for Westhill battle
In its ongoing efforts to halt the Westhill development, Aurora is enlisting the aid of a trio of experts.
The town opposes Lebovic Enterprises’ planned Westhill development, which would see 75 homes and an 18-hole golf course built on a slice of the Oak Ridges Moraine near Leslie Street and Bloomington Road.
Last week, the town retained a hydrogeologist, geoscientist and planner to bolster its case. However, because the decision to do so was made in closed session, town spokesperson Jason Ballantyne said he couldn’t disclose the reason behind the move or how much it will cost taxpayers.
Frustrated, Councillor Alison Collins-Mrakas said she could say very little on the matter except that council voted in favour of hiring the experts. All the other information is protected by closed session confidentiality, she said.
“I hope, in the very near future, we can speak about this issue,” she said. “I think the public deserves to know why council made the decision it did.”
Aurora council denied the developer’s application in 2008 and the company appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board soon after.
The case has gone back and forth between the OMB and divisional court ever since as the town and nearby residents, fearful for their well water, sought a joint board hearing to have a plethora of environmental concerns addressed.
In February, a divisional court dismissed the argument put forth by the town and residents stating the joint board would be the only way to address the many environmental concerns.
The town sought leave to appeal in March.
Mayor Phyllis Morris said she, too, was limited in what she could say.
She couldn’t release the details on price, she said, but noted the three experts are well-regarded and have been retained to give their opinions in the Westhill case as it moves forward, be it back to the OMB or if the town is successful in its push to obtain a joint board hearing.
“I certainly don’t want to expose our legal strategy,” Mrs. Morris said. “At some point, we’d like to release the opinion of our solicitor on this matter, but that would have to be a council resolution.”

32 Responses to “Mayor Morris Continues to Spend Good Money After Bad — With No Real Hope of Success”

  1. Guy Poppe said

    To Thanks etc.

    What are some of Nigel’s past actions you refer to?

    • Guy Poppe said

      This business of replying to who on this blog confuses me.

      Your express criticism regarding regarding the hiring of experts in the Westhill issue.

      The basis of your objection escapes me.

      I’ve been around long enough to know that this type of debate is largely an issue of experts.

      I recall some experts coming forward say the ducks will have a happy home in a proposed development. Does anyone want to see it?

      I can’t imagine that developers are funding this blog?

      Please say no

    • Guy Poppe said

      A message for “If you want to be pendantic” of May 22,2010.

      Your are right. Sometimes other languages get in the way.

      Sorry you didnt understand my note.

      I’ll try to talk goodlier next time.

    • Anon Anon said

      Guy, are you related to Hugo Kroon from Bethesda?

      What is up with you replying to your own reply to your own comment? Very Hugoesque. You’re confusing your audience…

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Anon, Anon.

      Wonderful to hear from you. When you stated I ran “interference” for the mayor, I challenged your assertion.

      I did not read a response.

      If I can give you one piece of assurance, I’m no body’s puppet nor slave.

      I look and listen to each candidate very, very carefully

      In the meantime, please don’t make assumptions

    • Anon Anon said

      Guy, how sweet of you to miss me! You do me a great honour, sir.

      We’ve met…at several Phyllis Morris functions. Yes, your feet are firmly planted under her table. My feet tread lightly where Phyllis is concerned. I’ve seen her jack-boot too many dissenters to do otherwise.

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Anon, Anon

      I have absolutely no recollection of attending any Mayor Morris’ function as you claim. I did attend a couple of meetings many years ago in support of her election as councilor.

      Perhaps if you would tell me your name, I would recall. Or alternatively, be more specific so I can search my records.

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Anon, Anon

      I await your response to my note of yesterday.

    • Hugo T. Kroon said

      Re Anon Anon May 26, 7:38, all things considered, you better take that as compliment.
      There are worse people to be related to/associated with around here, at least in my view

      Oops, what have I done now?
      I’ve inadvertently let every one know I’m still lurking around this site, observing the insanity…

      The Horrors!

      The Humanity!

      The…??…oh what the heck…

      I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment after all.

      BTW, good luck with all your endevours on this blog Guy, heaven knows you’ve got your work cut out for you.

    • Broderick Epps said

      Good to see Hugo is back. Things must be quiet in Whitechurch-Stouffville, home to the mayor best known for important functions such as giving out ass-kissing honours.Sticking his nose in Aurora’s mess must be the highlight of his day (after watching the grass grow).Welcome back.

  2. Nigel Kean said

    I appreciate the positive comments and the negative comments about the fact that I am running for Mayor.
    As I have said in the past, I will be there on election day as a candidate for mayor and I do intend on winning. I know that I have a battle but I also know that I am capable of running and winning.
    I do have a strong platform which will be released soon and I have a team in place that will get me there.
    I also know that there is at least one other person running and I do know who that person is.The mayor will declare soon.
    Last election, I did not run a a good campaign and I did not deserve to win. This election will be different, at least for my campaign.
    Not everything that I did on council suited everybody but then again one person cannot please everyone.
    From my ads in the Auroran I have been getting great feedback and support.
    You may not vote for me and I do appreciate people’s opinions so please keep them coming.
    At least wait until you know what I will stand for before you cast your vote.

  3. Aurora Resident said

    Quote: “… the three experts are well-regarded…”
    So was David Nitkin but what did Morris care then about being well-regarded? I gues they had better come up with the report she wants otherwise their “well-regardedness” will be down the drain also with Mr. Nitkin’s.

  4. Augustinius said

    The “Arrogance” and the “Ecstasy” are nothing if not consistent.

    Both are brain dead and do nothing in our town besides inhale precious oxygen and exhale noxious vapours.

    Begone, the pair of you, to the landfill site of your choosing. Provided the OMB has no objection.

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Augustinius:

      Your self proclaimed gift to genius are insulting to me and some who try to contribute to honest debate.

      Anytime you want to expose who you are and debate issues, I am available.

      In The meantime, stay under your rock.

    • If You Want To Be Pedantic... said

      “Your self proclaimed gift to genius are (sic) insulting to me and some…”

      Is it one gift or more? Right, so that should read ‘is’ rather than ‘are.’

      You’re welcome.

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Augustinius

      My earlier insulting comment bothered me all night, and I retract my statements and apologize.

      I get frustrated when someone needs to revert to personal attacks to make their point.

    • Charmed, I'm Sure said

      “In (t)he meantime, stay under your rock.”

      Is the above contributing to “honest debate,” Mr Poppe? It would seem you are from the “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” school of thought.

      And you say you have no connection to the mayor…

    • Guy Poppe said

      Charmed, you are absolutely right. That why I apologized.

    • Guy Poppe said

      What astounded me most about Augustinius comments that certain people are “brain dead”: “do nothing in our town besides inhale precious oxygen and exhale noxious vapours” and should be gone to the landfill site, provoked no response.

      For me, it stirred up recall of a time ruled by a Satanic leader. I hope Augustinius is young enough that he or she views the comments as innocent, rather than provocative.

    • Augustinius said

      Dear Mr. Poppe:

      Your retraction and apology are appreciated.

      I would suggest that many contributors to AuroraCitizen are not so much participating in honest debate as they are venting their anger and frustration over the conduct of the Morris administration.

      During the four years now coming to an end the town of Aurora will have spent in excess of $160,000,000 according to budget figures. I would suggest that the misappropriation of just one or two percent of this for items unnecessary to the town’s normal functioning is a huge amount that needs to be accounted for. This includes external legal fees, irresponsible OMB hearings, senior staff firings with attendant severance, recruitment costs for senior staff hirings, integrity commissioner firing and hiring, slush funds paid to friends “of the court” for various personal causes, professional studies ordered and then ignored; the list is endless.

      Let me quote from the Morris inaugural speech of December 5, 2006: “Well this promise is not fairy tale – I will work with Council and Town Staff to make our municipal government more open, more transparent, more accountable and more inclusive.”

      This statement is a bald-faced lie and has resulted in numerous, and what should be unnecessary, Freedom of Information requests. Transparency and Accountability indeed!

      Provincial and Federal politics operates on the basis of negative advertising, something I abhor, but this is what is done. If you should be familiar with American politics, the two main parties are virulent, even rabid, in their portrayal of their opponent. I find this disgusting.

      But one has to use the tools that the lowest level of intelligence brings forward to the fight, or you are whipped.

      While honest debate is an admirable objective, it by itself, unfortunately, is unlikely to get the job done.

    • Guy Poppe said

      Thank you, Augustinius for your considered response.

      It is your last sentence where we part.I respectfully disagree.

      I requested some people to review some of the comments made in this blog. They had no interest in our issues as they were from out of town.

      Without exception, authors advancing personal insult where summarily dismissed.

      This accords with many studies in this area. In fact, the value of personal attacks have featured in most of our own elections, at all levels.

      There is no doubt in my mind that the electorate will favour a respectful and positive thinking candidate, whoever that may be.

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Well, it’s obvious that the level of intensity rises on this blog fairly often, and it’s also obvious that the partcipants base their strong feelings on intelligence and a true caring for the Town.

      This medium was non-existent in the last election, but can be a powerful tool in the next one.

      Keep the comments, positive and negative, coming, but more importantly help expand the readership and participation as much as possible. More can be discussed and relayed on these issues in a few hours or a day than gets covered by the papers in a week.

      As they say about radio, if you hear it it’s news, if you read it it’s history.

      If you read it here it’s relevant.

    • Guy Poppe said


      I have perused your response and have some questions.

      You advised that monies were spent on “irresponsible OMB hearings”.

      Could you elaborate? What hearings and what issues.

      You also said “slush funds paid to friends “of the court” for various personal causes”. Please elaborate.

      I infer from your comment that criminal activity is alleged, and if you have any evidence, I would like to know so that further steps can considered. Should you wish to maintain confidentiality, you can call me.

    • Augustinius said

      Dear Mr. Poppe:

      No doubt you are familiar with the Freedom of Information request list that was submitted to the town in December last year. It has been reproduced on AuroraCitizen earlier this year

      One of the requests was as follows: “An accounting of all OMB appeals arising from the Town’s planning/zoning actions, those won and and those lost, with dollar amounts for external consultants and lawyers, on a case by case basis.”

      Another was: “What exactly is the “Dream Team?” An accounting of its activities and how any Town monies allocated to support its activities were spent.”

      Also recently published on AuroraCitizen was a copy of a letter from the town’s Manager of Administration/Acting Deputy Clerk, Shannon Boychuk, dated March 24. This letter stated that the town was extending the time limit for response from the standard 30 days to an additional 40 days, namely to about May 11, being 40 days after receipt of fees demanded, in order to proceed with the gathering of information for a formal response. In a follow up on or about May 14, the lawyer handling the Freedom of Information request was advised that Ms. Boychuk was on an indefinite leave of absence. It has since been learned that she is on maternity leave. On or about May 14, Mr. John Leach, the Town Clerk, personally became involved in working on the town’s response. Since then the lawyer representing the FOI request has heard nothing from Mr. Leach. Unless something constructive occurs tomorrow, it is conceivable that a complaint against the town might be submitted to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Hopefully this will not prove necessary.

      My comment in no way implies alleged criminal activity and I do not know from where you draw this conclusion.

      What I am prepared to posit is that the Morris administration might be guilty of moral corruption.

      One last point relates to our democratic election process. I believe that it should be compulsory for all eligible voters to vote. Barring this, I strongly urge a revision in the process of voting. When there are more than 2 candidates for the office of mayor, there should be run-off elections, held weekly, regardless of cost, so that at the end of the process the successful candidate will have received more than 50% of the total vote. In 2006 there were 12,370 votes cast for the 3 mayoralty candidates. This represents 38% of the total of eligible voters. Morris received 5,208 votes, 42% of the votes cast. What is even more depressing is that this percentage drops to 16% of eligible voters.

      This is hardly a mandate to govern anything, much less oversee the expenditure of $160,000,000.

      We are now starting to get into the specifics of how our town has been governed. I know from comments on this blog that many besides myself are unhappy. What can any of the readership and other contributors put forward as more arrows in our collective quiver?

    • Guy Poppe said

      Augustinius- Thank you for your considered response of May 24, 2010.

      Let me say, I was not aware of the list of FOI requests, and the responses. I, too, have invoked this procedure in order to help me better understand the facts.

      What immediately strikes me is that broad allegations against council are made, and then attempts are made to try to prove the allegations through FOI requests.

      An example is the allegation that a mass exodus of staff has occurred, as a result of the actions of the Mayor and Council.

      A subsequent FOI request was filed seeking information about staff that has left. It was insisted this should be provided gratis- i.e. at the taxpayers’ expense. Councilor Buck has presented a list already.

      I would be much more interested in hearing from the staff directly and the reasons why they left.

      Another comment is about usurping funds for personal causes.
      If such alleged activity is not criminal, we have divergent views of the law. More importantly, if you have evidence of such activity, why not share it?

    • Guy Poppe said

      Bravo to Thanks to be Given…

      We are here to make our lives better.

      We may disagree on how our elected do this, but at the end of the day we are still neighbours and a community that respects each other.

      Or am I delusional?

    • Augustinius said

      Dear Mr. Poppe:

      Here is a worthy project for you.

      Contact Evelyn Buck and get from her the names of all staff who have left the town’s employ, for whatever reason, since the Morris administration took office. Then try and locate them and then arrange for interviews with each.

      Following this you will be in the absolute best position of anyone interested or engaged in the day to day affairs of Aurora’s government.

      Your publication of this information should blow the roof off the town hall.

  5. Matt Maddocks said

    I’m so sick of Morris and her gang. They’ve spent my money in ways I can’t even believe, then they don’t even have the stones to offer “transparency” in coming clean about it. I’ve been reading this blog for some time, and now have to join in, as I can no longer stay silent. The house needs to be cleaned, these folks have got to go. McRoberts, Collins-Mrakas, and Buck will get my vote (assuming they all run again), but none of the others. What concerns me most though, is are we too small a group to get the message out? With only a fraction of the town’s population typically coming out to vote, how do we get the numbers out to the polls to counter Morris and her gang’s group of followers? I’m willing to do what I can to help, but don’t know where to begin.

    Bob McRoberts – please run for Mayor. As it stands now, between Kean and Clowater, neither are strong enough to defeat Morris.

    • Older than dirt said

      To Matt Maddocks
      Another nay sayer about Kean. You are so wrong that I am not sure where you all meet to get a campaign against him but wherever it is the room must not have any fresh air and this will distort your thinking.
      I know that Kean has a growing popular vote as I meet at different places including the seniors centre and the leisure complex and I am hearing good things about what he will do when elected.
      Kean did more on the past two councils than all of the other councillors. Take a look at his record.

    • fed up said

      Older than Dirt says: I am hearing good things about what he will do when elected. Why aren’t the rest of us hearing this too ? Talk about a silent campaign

    • Matt Maddocks said

      Hi Older – I wouldn’t say I’m a nay sayer about Kean. I have nothing against the man himself. I’m just being realistic (in my opinion) about his chances against Morris.

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Hey Older than Dirt, you obviously have Nigel’s ear on this, please pass on this advice.

      You can be sure that other candidate’s will appear for the Mayor’s position.

      Nigel trumpets his past ‘experience’ on Council. But some of his past actions that I remember make him the last person I would give the job to.

      If he has the Town’s best interest at heart and not his own, he should switch to a run for Councillor – winning one of eight seats falls within the realm of possibility – and help a new team restore Aurora’s reputation that the Six Pack have tarnished so badly.

      Perhaps Mr. Lebovic should plan for a small portion of the ‘slice of the Oak Ridge Moraine’ to serve as the home of a monument to Mayor Morris’ and her gang’s incompetence.

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