Me, Myself and I Redux

Loading

At Collingwood Council meetings, you will always hear someone say “Moved by myself…” when presenting a motion at the table.* Argh! Where did these people go to school? Clearly our education system has failed us if people were raised to say that. And this is in the public record, too. To me it’s like nails on a blackboard. It’s like saying “I seen…” and “yous.” The grammatically correct way to present a motion is, of course, to say, “Moved by me…” So why the mistake we … click below for more ↓

We Need a Different Integrity Commissioner

Loading

Monday night’s council meeting again underscored why the town needs someone new in the role of integrity commissioner. Lawyer Robert Swayze presented his report about a complaint filed against councillor Deb Doherty and it was accepted by council in a recorded 6-2 vote*. But his report shared the same flaws his previous report about former Deputy Mayor Lloyd had, and kudos to the two (mayor Cooper and Coun. Lloyd) for rejecting it. The IC’s report was presented to the public (and thus to the media) before … click below for more ↓

Cold Camembert, Collingwood Style

Loading

Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth made comments last week about how awful it is to eat normal airplane food as an excuse why she billed more sumptuous meals to her taxpayer-funded expense account. Cold camembert and broken crackers, she whined, were not acceptable breakfast fare for the likes of a Senator. As the NatPost quoted her: “There are a couple of times when my assistant put in for a breakfast when I was on a plane, and they say I should have not claimed because I should have eaten … click below for more ↓

Gated Communities

Loading

I’m not a big fan of gated communities, but even if I don’t personally want to live in one myself, I understand the reason for them, and sympathize with homeowners in those zones. Apartments are basically gated towers that restrict access to residents or keyholders and no one complains that they isolate the residents. Few people who live in one would welcome strangers walking up and down their halls. If a home owner in other parts of town has the right to fence in his or … click below for more ↓

Abdicating Responsibility

Loading

Collingwood Council has, in its short time in office, abdicated much of its responsibility to the business of government and to the people of this town. Council has sloughed off the duties they were elected to shoulder with remarkable alacrity. Some of that responsibility landed on staff, who assumed control of the budget process and drive most of the initiatives that come to the table. But some of it is being passed along to un-elected residents. It began early on when this council decided not to … click below for more ↓

Closed for Business, Hostile to Seniors

Loading

Closed: that’s the message Collingwood Council sent to business during its recent budget discussions. We’re making it more expensive to run a business here, and by the way, we’re hostile to seniors and low-wage earners, too. Under the tissue-thin pretense of keeping taxes low (which they aren’t, really), council approved a staff initiative to remove the costs for maintaining hydrants from the general tax levy and add them into your water rates – where they will do the most harm. Councillor Madigan made the motion to take the costs from the … click below for more ↓

Email and Confidentiality

Loading

A story in this week’s Connection titled “Private talk with CAO leads to Collingwood integrity commissioner complaint” sparked the following comment. No, this is not about what strikes me as the unethical and secretive behaviour of the councillor in question and his defending that behaviour in the media as if the town’s Code of Conduct did not state at its outset that all members of council (emphasis added): …are held to a high standard as leaders of the community and they are expected to become well informed on … click below for more ↓

Why Elvis Matters to Collingwood

Loading

There are some things that are pointless to argue, it seems. Creationism with a fundamentalist. Anti-vaccination with a New Age wingnut. Reason and logic with local  bloggers. The value of the Elvis Festival to Collingwood with a closed-minded resident. I recently heard complaints about the cost of the 2014 festival: $74,000. More than double what the Integrity Commissioner cost taxpayers to investigate bogus, politically-motivated claims last year. And what did we get for that $74,000? International recognition and widespread media coverage, more than 30,000 visitors, … click below for more ↓

Councils and Their CAO

Loading

A good relationship between a municipal council and their town’s CAO is crucial to smooth, effective and efficient governance. The CAO is the liaison between council and staff, responsible for directing staff to implement council’s direction and overseeing internal personnel issues. If the relationship is rocky, then governance and Council’s interactions with staff – and therefore the entire public’s interests – all suffer. To fill this role well, a CAO has to be scrupulously objective and neutral, calm and wise – not push any one person’s or … click below for more ↓

The tail wags the dog again

Loading

In January, the CAO coupled a ‘sky-is-falling’ presentation about the town’s debt with a proposed 5.11 percent tax increase. * Councillor Kevin Lloyd made a motion to have staff bring back two options for council to consider: a one and two percent increase to the general tax levy, with comments on how these would affect services. Council approved the motion and directed staff to prepare them. Instead, what council got at its Feb. 24 budget meeting was a wish list from staff for additional spending. … click below for more ↓

What’s Wrong with Municipal Bonusing?

Loading

Until the early 1970s, municipalities in Ontario were involved in a free-for-all competition to attract business and industry. They offered tax breaks, free land, free infrastructure, utilities or services, housing — whatever it took to get a plant or office to open within their boundaries. A lot of small Ontario communities were able to attract businesses that way, and many got major industries. Of course, the local taxpayers paid for these benefits, but the towns subscribed to the theory that eventually the extra jobs and … click below for more ↓

Whitewash

Loading

In early January, Council was presented with a report by outside consultants on the state of the shared service agreement between Collus/Powerstream and the town. The report, however, was rejected by council as flawed – wisely, it turns out – and the following motion was made (emphasis added) that night: THAT the motion be deferred for one month to allow the president and CEO of Collus/Powerstream to review and comment on the report, and that the report be further circulated to the interview participants and CPUSB … click below for more ↓

Open for Business, But Not For Your Input

Loading

Did you happen to read the town ad on the inside page in the Enterprise Bulletin this weekend? February 6, top of page D7? I’m betting you didn’t because no one I’ve spoken to seems to have read it. And since you can’t find the ad on the EB’s website, you won’t have read it online, either. But you should because it likely affects you and possibly in a big way.  It may change your life and not in a positive manner. It’s on the town’s … click below for more ↓

The Hypocrisy Starts

Loading

It didn’t long for the hypocrisy to start at council. Monday night, council approved a five-year contract for an unsolicited proposal from the town’s only (monopoly) taxi service without going to an open bid process. Yes that’s right: this council approved a sole-source contract in its first two months of this term. No tender. No RFP. No public input. It wasn’t advertised. It just came in, unsolicited.* And the contract lasts five years – beyond the term of this council. Yes: the same people who loudly … click below for more ↓

Back to Top