Berman’s Cowardly Comment

Late last month, Collingwood council heard from the town’s inquiry legal team* justifying the cost of the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (aka the SVJI), which many residents feel was an exorbitant waste of our tax dollars. The Collingwood Connection reported that Councillor Berman engaged in a to-and-fro with Will McDowell (of Lenzcner Slaght**): Coun. Steve Berman asked if the parties involved had been more forthcoming with … (more–>)

The Inquiry Cost $250,000 More? Were We Lied To?

Hidden costsFormer councillor Tim Fryer is back on the agenda this coming week, making another delegation to the Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee about the true costs of the judicial inquiry (aka the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry, or SVJI). I admire Tim’s tenacity at trying to get the truth out to the public about this debacle. My respect for him has risen considerably since he’s been off council, but I wish he had been such a bulldog for the truth when he was at the table (I wrote about Fryer’s last appearance in front of the committee here).

At the very end of the agenda, you can read Tim’s letter, starting on page 161* and continuing through page 166. What’s most interesting is that he included a letter from the town to EPCOR, included on pages 163 and 164. That letter shows the town agreed to pay EPCOR’s legal costs over the SVJI of $250,000 or more. Yet those costs do not show up on the town’s most recent official accounting of the costs for the SVJI (read it here) **

For a council eager to censor “fact-check” residents’ comments and letters so they conform to the party line, it seems highly hypocritical to find that the town itself isn’t forthcoming about the facts. Yet we now learn that $250,000 was mysteriously left out of the calculations. As Fryer writes,

I figured if a $4 Walmart or $8 Tim Horton’s expense charge could be included then certainly something like the $250,000 or more of EPCOR’s legal expense coverage, as per the Side Letter Agreement terms established with council after the CJI was initiated, should be too.

Continue Reading“The Inquiry Cost $250,000 More? Were We Lied To?”

Another Sad Day for Collingwood

It’s sad to see any council devolve into pettiness and paranoia, but not surprising when this thin-skinned group does. In a story on CollingwoodToday, council voted 4-3* to censor “fact-check” letters or comments from the public. It’s so very Stalinist of them that they need staff to ensure the public’s comments march in step with the party line. What next? Purges? Gulags? Show trials? Oh wait, … (more–>)

Seven years in politics? But where?

In his latest email letter asking for support for his job-hunting effort, Mayor Brian Saunderson says, “Having served on Collingwood and Simcoe County Councils for 7 years…” Saunderson was first elected in late 2014, but did not take office in Collingwood until December 1, 2014. The inaugural meeting for the county was also that month: December 9, 2014. That’s six years and two months, not seven … (more–>)

The Hypocrisy Goes On

Anyone having supervisory responsibility for the completion of a task will invariably protest that more resources are needed. Hacker’s Law of Personnel, coined by Andrew Hacker in The End of the American Era, Atheneum, 1970. At the end of the Feb. 8 virtual meeting of Collingwood’s “Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee,” under “other business,” Councillor Jeffrey (~2:02:20) worries about the “lack of staff resources” the mayor has … (more–>)

Will Madigan Pay for Inquiry Costs?

In a recent story on CollingwoodToday about the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (SVJI), Councillor Bob “Lapdog” Madigan commented that he wanted, “…those who are responsible for this need to be held accountable.” Since neither the inquiry nor the OPP found anything illegal or criminal in the proceedings (no charges have been laid, although the OPP began its investigation in 2014!), the basis for a lawsuit would … (more–>)

A Municipal Challenge to Democracy?

Collingwood has joined other local municipalities asking the province to revamp its Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA; a guide from the Information and Privacy Commissioner to the Act is also available here) to make the process more restrictive and less open. While some of those changes might seem appropriate to outsiders, I see buried in the wording of the request some … (more–>)

Saunderson’s Role in Blocking the Hospital Redevelopment

During the previous council’s four years (2014-18), I documented the aggressive efforts to stall the local hospital’s desperately-needed redevelopment by a group of those on council (aka The Block*). Every other municipality in the region enthusiastically supported the hospital’s plan; only this group on Collingwood council put up roadblocks. And they were significant roadblocks raised at great expense to the taxpayer. Collingwood council SHOULD have taken … (more–>)

What would $9 Million Buy Our Town?

Back a few years ago, the 2010-14 council led by Mayor Cooper approved building for the community several important structures and buying for public ownership several properties, any of which — indeed, several of which — could have been built for less than the $9 million cost we taxpayers are burdened with paying for the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (SVJI) this term. For example, the new … (more–>)

The $9 Million Dollar Mayor

More than eight million of your dollars have been spent to date on the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (SVJI), and it may top $9 million if you add in the costs the town doesn’t include in its calculations, as well as the proposed $700,000 report-about-the-report. And that should stick to our $9 million-dollar mayor. There is a breakdown of the SVJI costs as of Dec. 18, … (more–>)

The irony, the hypocrisy

There’s a letter on the council consent agenda that will either make you shake your head in wonder at the brash irony of it, or laughing at a writer who plays a fawning Rudy Giuliani to Saunderson’s Trump. It’s from Claire Tucker-Reid, the co-chair of the former Central Park Steering Committee (SPSC; our current mayor was the other), the committee that can be argued to be … (more–>)

Council’s financial follies part 1

This is the first in what I expect will be a long series of posts about the financial follies and shenanigans of our council. Our council begins its term not with a bang but a groan and the shaking of heads. To quote Oliver Hardy, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” I’m sure it won’t be the last time I get to say … (more–>)

SVJI costs continue to skyrocket

As I predicted earlier, the costs for Saunderson’s Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (SVJI) are going to climb through the roof. And of course you, the taxpayer, are going to pay for it. Last month local media carried stories that the SVJI – scheduled to begin this month (November) – wasn’t going to meet its deadlines. It was delayed and would not start until the “new year” (apparently … (more–>)

The campaign’s moral compass

Every politician – in fact, every human – has a personal moral compass that helps guide the way they act, debate and vote in office. While a politician’s may not be the same as the compass that they use as civilians, as family members, as employees, or as a friend, it operates similarly to direct their actions. For some, their moral compass is a strong internal … (more–>)

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