Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

12/14 Council Meeting Highlights

Posted by auroracitizen on December 15, 2010

So what did we learn about our new Council last night.

First, we thought Mayor Dawe did a good job on his first night. He was not completely comfortable with everything he had to do, but got better as the night progressed. He will need to remember that a motion must always be on the floor (duly moved and seconded) before any debate is allowed, Plus, debate/comments must be entertained before calling the question — and both for and against must be called before calling the vote carried. We expect that it will soon be second nature.

Highlights & Lowlights

  1. First, he needed to remind Councillor Geartner that when she addressed him, that it should be to the title of Mayor versus Mr Dawe. This is not ego, but it is protocol for all members of Council. Also, all questions/comments are to be addressed to the “Chair” versus individual members as a matter of course. The intent is to avoid personalities from entering the debate and maintaining a civil, respectful attitude. Possibly Councillor Gaertner simply forget this important protocol after the layoff for the election and no intentional insult was intended.
  2. Both a member of the public and Councillor Ballard were cautioned because their comments towards staff could be viewed in a negative manner. This was often seen last term and it was nice to see Mayor Dawe stepping in. Staff has no ability to defend themselves or their reputation, so it is totally inappropriate for anyone, Council or public, to make assertions about their competence or behaviour in a public forum. If there is a need for that type of discussion it should be handled in private. Hopefully, he will be called upon less to address this disrespectful attitude as Council progresses. Council refused to deal with Councillor Ballards motion as worded and would only support it once he agreed (with his seconder Councillor Gaertner) to remove the comments thought to be offensive.
  3. Councillors Ballard and Gaertner did not support the motion for an off-site. It will be interesting to see whether they follow the agreed direction of Council or boycott. Councillor Humfryes hit the nail on the head when she commented that a big part of the objective was to team build — something lacking last term that is trying to be remedied this term.
  4. Councillor Gaertner tried to derail the discussion about 2 critical issues that were presented as Notice of Motions by Mayor Dawe; the removal of the information about Councillor Buck from the town website and Termination of the contract for the Integrity Commissioner. Her argument was that a Notice of Motion is not to be provided in writing, but should be presented verbally — according to her interpretation of the procedural bylaw. However, the Clerk explained the procedural bylaw outlined the minimum standard and that presenting them in written format would seem to surpass this test and was therefore acceptable although not covered specifically in the bylaw. The balance of Council agreed and Councillor Gaertner was over-ruled on the point of order. She then clucked and squawked that this Council was not following the procedural bylaw. Of interest, there was no corresponding comment whatsoever about Councillor Ballards motion (point 2 above) which had no notice and was supported by 3 delegations.
  5. Of a more humorous nature, a couple of staff referred to Mayor Dawe as Madame Mayor.
  6. Another funny moment was when Mayor Dawe on one occasion asked Councillor Buck to focus her comments on the question for debate. Councillor Buck, with a twinkle in her eye, asked if he was asking her to stop talking. When he replied to the affirmative, she laughed and agreed — which brought a laugh from most of the folks in the Council chamber. It also suggested that the banter back and forth will be more positive and of better humour this term that last.
  7. A motion to reconsider the motion that led to 3 private citizens and this blog being sued by former Mayor Phyllis Morris was approved after almost a 2 hour in camera session. Hopefully there will be a public debate on this issue soon.

Not sure if we caught everything, but hope that you get a sense of what the meeting was like. Full Minutes will be on the town website — but without the commentary. Also, Rogers should start taping the meetings in the new year so you will be able to tune in yourself.

If you share some of our concerns or are pleased by some of the changes — please take the time to show your support or displeasure by writing a letter to the editor. As a community, we get the politicians we deserve — so let’s continue to let them know what we expect – every day, not just once every 4 years.

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21 Responses to “12/14 Council Meeting Highlights”

  1. Kron Prinz Ferdinand said

    I think Councillor Gaertner should resign as she appears to be engaging in the kind of dirty plitics that we voted out the previous mayor for engaging in.

  2. Robert the Bruce said

    Can someone – maybe Councillor Buck – explain to me the reason and how much the cost will be to “reverting the address back to 100 John West Way at the Aurora Town Hall.”?

    There were a number of complaints regarding the cost of changing stationary and other things that had the Town address on it when it was changed before. As the councillor that is supposed to be looking out for our pocketbooks, how can this be a good thing?

    Full disclosure, I personally feel that naming streets after councillors should not occur until their demise.

    I do not like how we are already starting to cherry pick items from the previous councils and are looking at reversing them – for what appears to be spiteful reasons.

    Fuimus

  3. Brian Duff said

    Just good old fun this is!

  4. Anonymous said

    Is Wendy the Evelyn Buck of this council?

    • veritas said

      Personally, I am beginning to draw the conclusion that our Wendy is absolutely lost now that she does not have the MorMac unit telling her what to think, what to do and how to vote. I think she is as clueless as she has always been but now it shows even more. I have not heard of moving a motion and then voting against it as she apparently did last Tuesday. It is going to be fun to watch her.

    • Anonymoose said

      No. For Gaertner to be the EB of this council, everyone on this site would have to be making excuses for her rather than attacking her. Veritas, you should join a board or two. Moving a motion is to put it before the board so that it may be debated. One does not have to support a motion to move it for debate. Someone elses’ ‘clueless’ness is showing here.

      It is definitely going to be an interesting 4 years, but I don’t see much changing here. There will still be a large and very vocal minority of people on this site expressing their own ignorance and insults.

    • One who Knows said

      What an absolute insult to Councilor Buck, to make such a comparison is like comparing Daffy Duck to Einstein.

    • Luckywife said

      To Anonymoose:

      “It is definitely going to be an interesting 4 years, but I don’t see much changing here. There will still be a large and very vocal minority of people on this site expressing their own ignorance and insults.”

      Anonymoose, you are a frequent commenter on this blog. If you feel that ignorance and insults are all that the contributers here have to offer, why waste your time? If you insist on painting all of us with the same brush, then please include yourself, with all due respect, you are no slouch in the insult department. Civil and reasoned discussion is always preferrable to me, and to many of us here. Let’s have one.

      Regards,
      Luckywife

    • Anonymous said

      I am sure this is a little short sighted, but why would you put a motion forward if you have no intentions of voting on it? Why not just save everyone the bother? If you don’t debate an item then that saves a lot of time doesn’t?

    • veritas said

      To Anonymoose
      Hmmmmm. where have I heard that tone before? It sounds soooooo familiar. Could it be the tone on council during the last 4 years? You know, the tone that was dismissed by the electorate?
      And as for boards, don’t worry about me. I have many years of experience. But nice of you to try and set me straight anyway.

    • Anonymous said

      To:

      One who Knows said
      December 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm
      What an absolute insult to Councilor Buck, to make such a comparison is like comparing Daffy Duck to Einstein

      Einstein????? Come on, are you serious?

      If there are going to be votes of 5-3 or 6-2 this term, you can bet that one of the 3 or 2 will be Wendy. Her deer in the headlights persona is scary.

  5. Stephen Forsey said

    I too attended the first working meeting of the current council and it occurred to me that while Councillor Gaertner may have objected to the idea of an off-site meeting, she might actually benefit from some quality time with Sr. Town staff, particularly the Town’s Finance Director, for whom she had a number of questions. In my opinion many of those queries could have been deferred until then. When you add in the much needed “team building” that Councillor Humfryes so accurately articulated, it’s hard to see why anyone would not want to attend. While I may be overstating the obvious, let’s make sure all the necessary efficiencies to keep the town running smoothly are utilized.

  6. veritas said

    To your point #1:
    I think you are being particularly generous to dear old Wendy. However, she has been a councillor for 7 years – as she loves to remind everybody – and I don’t think for one minute that the disrespect was unintentional.
    Also, reading behind her lines, spoken and written, I can guess who authors her script.

    • Everyone knows its Windy said

      People, People go easy on poor old witless Windy, Council is going to need a bit of color and humor over the next 4 years After all she does bring another dim-ension to the table and if nothing else it will be entertaining to watch now that she’s no longer one of the G.O.S. power brokers, This situation will sort itself out in no time.

  7. JOHN H SARGENT said

    Re Mr Dawe verses Mayor Dawe at first Council meeting is questionable at the least.. Councilor Geartner will tell you herself abut being on Council for 7 years and how important it is to always follow the rule of procedure ??..One councilor did say at at inauguration* let the games begin*, Do not quote me but just maybe he has at least one team mate join his games team..Happy holidays to all

  8. Luckywife said

    I am very disappointed that the first council meeting of the new term was not televised. I often review video after reading minutes to refresh my memory of a debate. It’s frustrating because there are alot of people who cannot make it out Town Hall to view in person.

    Hopefully, we are off to a good start. Team building does not happen overnight. Cllr.’s Gallo, Gaertner, Buck and Ballard all carry baggage from the disaster that was last term. Animosity, hurt feelings and bruised egos aren’t going to heal overnight. Although we all like to hope and expect people to rise above their personal grievances and focus on the work, that rarely happens.

    Last term, the only councilors that were consistantly professional and respectful towards their colleagues and the public were McRoberts and Collins-Mrakas. Let’s hope our newest members choose to model their own performance after them and not the others.

    Luckywife

    • someone who loves this town more than politics said

      Luckywife,

      I share in your frustration but in regards to video of meetings I fail to see why we need to rely on RobbersTV to provide us with coverage.

      I wish to bring up another option that seems to have escaped the discussion and hope it becomes part of it when councilor Buck’s notion of motion comes forward and that is that all council meetings are recorded.

      Yup.

      There is a camera mounted on the ceiling at the rear of the chambers. The video is prepared and made available to any councilor on DVD that wishes to review it.

      So here’s the question.

      If staff is already engaged in this process, what is involved in opening this video up to the viewing public?

      And as a follow up question, if the previous council was even remotely concerned about “openness” and “transparency” as they continued to claim why couldn’t they have considered any one of the following courses:

      1.) What extra work would be involved in producing copies of the DVD to the public, and if necessary charge a fee for service ($1-$5) ?

      2.) What would be involved in producing a small number of copies to the Aurora Public Library so people can sign them out for viewing?

      3.) What extra work would be involved to post the video to YouTube (thus negating any costs of hosting the video) and attaching a link to the video beside the minutes section on the website?

      These seem like reasonable requests of staff’s time in the effort of expanding an already existing process for the benefit of all citizens that cannot attend these meetings but wish to be involved.

      Aurora Town Staff are a capable bunch and I fail to see why we need to rely on Robbers (or any company for that matter) to shoot/edit and disseminate the town’s council meetings when both the tools and capabilities exist within the corporation.

      That being said I fully understand that

      1.) This would not be broadcast on cable.

      Boo hoo. That is fine by me. Robbers or any company for that matter can by all means compliment this with their coverage for that audience.

      2.) The single camera is locked off, therefore there is limited coverage in regards to angles in comparison with the Robbers coverage, the resolution will be less.

      I’m sure if the interest was high enough a small budget allocation ($1-$2K) would sufficiently upgrade the video and audio sensitivity of this equipment. It would be a one time cost with the benefit of the corporation owning and displaying the public record.

      I know I would be happy with reviewing council meetings even with these drawbacks if it was done expeditiously ( 2-3 days after council meetings – which is on par with Robbers) and in a format that allows me to view when I want and how I want, which is something that Robbers is slowly approaching.

    • Luckywife said

      Chris, thanks for the info. I had no idea the Town had it’s own camera, if I had ever noticed I would probably have assumed it was for security reasons.

      You make some good points. I especially like the youtube idea. I have to be honest I would get pretty cheesed off about having to pay the Town for a video of a meeting. They already receive a sizeable chunk of my hard earned cash which subsidizes their weekly get togethers. I share your feelings about Robbers, but I think they do a nice job of filming the meetings. I don’t know why last term council made such a big fuss when Rogers asked to install permanent cameras? Is my memory correct or did I imagine that? Anyway, I am not so naive to believe that Robbers is performing a community service for us for free. They get a nice subsidy from the Feds for this and it also gets counted towards their Canadian content quota. We do already pay for it as well rolled into the cost of a “basic” package the CRTC forces upon us no matter which carrier we use.

      Regards,
      Luckywife

    • A question said

      Consistent professionalism and respect toward their colleagues: The two most decent members of last term, who thought before they spoke, and then eloquently – why are they gone, and some carryovers still here?

    • Luckywife said

      To A Question:

      “why are they gone, and some carryovers still here?”

      For the real reasons, you’d need to ask them. I suspect that futile exhaustion from the last four years played a significant part in their decisions. Constant hostility, unprofessionalism, cronyism, being surrounded by mean spirited incompetance will eventually wear out the best and the brightest in any organization. I think that sums it up fairly accurately, but that is just my observations.

      Regards,
      Luckywife

  9. Anonymous said

    Glad that it appears so far that Humfryes is not the Morris/StKitts stooge that some of us suspected. Perhaps you can be friends with a variety of people and most of the time do the right thing as well. Maybe McRoberts’ spirit lives on.

    Appears that Gallo may be willing to be reasonable in the future except on reversing his past positions (typical politician).

    Can’t get a firm hold on Ballard yet. Is it just inexperienced nervousness or is this guy a jerk?

    Wendy, Wendy, oh Wendy. You only survived the election because you were the weakest (well tied with Gallo) link of the GOS. You had a chance to reinvent yourself but you want to be Phyllis Morris II. My suggestion is that you run for Mayor next election and find out what people really think of you.

    Evelyn Buck is already demonstrating (as most of us suspected) she can work reasonably with reasonable people.

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