Time for council to learn the rules? Nah…


vengeance takes timeBeing a councillor is hard work. You have to scurry around in dark corners looking for places in which to hold secret meetings, you have to plan the destruction of town facilities and services, you have to spend whole minutes calculating how much to raise taxes, you have to wrack your brain for hours trying to determine the best way to discourage business, offend developers (except those who are your in-laws), you have to spend countless hours listening to staff drone on and on and on about boring stuff like planning and finances before you can get back to figuring out how much money to pump into an expense account so the Senator can party around the country without having to fly economy or eat in 4-star restaurants (answer: unlimited expenses!).

You have to plot how to make staff morale crumble even further, how to punish anyone who might have even smiled at someone on the former council, and how to squeeze more from the taxpayer to reward those out-of-town lawyers and consultants you’ve become buddy-buddy with this term.

And then there are all those secret meetings and passing along confidential information and emails to your mouthpieces and sycophants so they can fuel their whisper campaigns.

Whew. It sure is a busy life. Vengeance takes a lot of effort. Let up for even a moment and you fall off your path of malice and mayhem. Being petty and vindictive requires all your attention.

So many things to do, so little time. Plotting to ruin the town’s reputation is a full-time occupation, so there’s little wonder councillors don’t have time to even read their agendas, let alone those dreary legal publications – the Code of Conduct, Procedural Bylaw, Municipal Act (it’s so boring and so looooooong!), or those stuffy rules of order. Stuff and nonsense! Council has to stay focused on the important things like avoiding public input when selling our assets. They can’t be sidetracked from pursuing the all-important vendettas and personal agendas with frivolous rules of order!

Why, council even had to fire its own integrity commissioner so those pesky investigations and public scrutiny wouldn’t get in the way of their rampage. Besides, who needs integrity when you’re a politician, eh? It only muddies the waters.

But staff seem to think it’s maybe time for council to learn a teensy bit about how the rules work. Just a smidgen.

After all, it’s been 21 months since they took office and they haven’t learned them yet. Sure, there was a year before that for them to get ready, read, attend workshops, if they thought they might actually want to figure out how meetings work. You’d think by now they’d have learned the basics. You know, like how an agenda works, when to speak, how to vote, that sort of thing.

Apparently not, so I suppose staff had to step in. On the agenda for the Strategic Initiatives Committee, Monday Aug. 8, there are two workshops scheduled for 10 a.m.:

  • Council/Staff Roles & Responsibilities
  • Meeting Protocol / Parliamentary Procedures

And of course to avoid attention from the media or actual public scrutiny when they are forced to sit in their chairs like sullen school kids and be lectured on how to behave, council scheduled this meeting in the library building on a weekday morning, the best time to have no audience. Plus it won’t be televised. They don’t want you to see them squirm and yawn, fidget with their cell phones, snooze, play solitaire on their computers, and stare out the windows.

I know: like me you’re probably wondering why bother? After all, it’s almost two years into their term and they haven’t learned the basics yet, so does anyone really think it will sink in this time? Or that they care about the niceties of procedure or democracy? Me either.

Come on, you think Godzilla got where he did by being a nice lizard? You want to rampage, destroy a city, wreak havoc, then you have to ignore the rules. That’s The Block’s philosophy.

But I suppose for staff it’s like training the puppy who keeps piddling on the carpet. Every now and then you have to take out the rolled-up newspaper and give it a tap on the nose.

Not that it will make much difference. After the workshop is over, they’ll go right back to metaphorically piddling on the carpet. Which is our case means pissing on the town and people. But they’re really good at that. Really, really good. Almost two years into their term and they’ve turned everything they touch into a toxic disaster.

That takes effort. Learning how to talk or when to put your hand up – pah! Who has time for that stuff? This council has a town to ruin, reputations to shred, vendettas to pursue. So let them go and get on with betraying the public trust. Corruption won’t make itself happen. Someone has to do the dirty work. And we have just the crew to tackle that job. As long as we don’t distract them with democracy.

Collingwood deserves better.

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