Councillor Shits on Democracy


In a recent story in CollingwoodToday, Councillor Jeffrey is reported shitting on the democratic process. Rather than respecting a previous decision of council as policy requires, she chose to bring back a vote to add another staff person to our already overstaffed townhall. In doing so, I am confident she was well aware that she was voting to further burden taxpayers, simply because she didn’t like the way the vote went when she wasn’t at the table.

Coun. Kathy Jeffery noted that the Nov. 20 meeting occurred while she and Doherty were absent.

The two Saundersonite councillors who feel they are most entitled to run things couldn’t be bothered to attend the first meeting (Nov. 20, 2023). Jeffrey felt it appropriate to ignore the first vote, flip to bird at democracy, and call for a new vote that would suit her own agenda (which seems to include pandering to staff demands for more and more bodies in town hall). She seems to believe that she has that right, and such irrelevances as due process, ethics, or previous council decisions don’t matter to her. In self-defence, she threw out this vapid bromide:

“The greatest support for democracy is when we’re all here and represented,” said Jeffery.

Well, in that case, I suggest you should be present for the vote. Since you weren’t, have the common courtesy to the rest —and the respect — to abide by the majority’s decision. But apparently, Jeffrey doesn’t think the Code of Conduct applies to her.  After all, she’s entitled, right? And if the rest of council who didn’t vote her way won’t kiss her ring, they can just kiss her ass.

The Code notes:

Members will accurately communicate the decisions of Collingwood Council, even if they disagree with the majority decision of Council, and by so doing affirm the respect for and integrity in the decision-making processes of Council.

The first vote was democratic, and suggesting it wasn’t is PoiLIEvre-style gaslighting. The Code continues (emphasis added):

Rule No. 15 – Not Undermine, Work Against Council’s Decisions 1. Members shall not actively undermine the implementation of Council’s decisions….The role of elected officials, once a council decision is made, is to support the implementation of that decision, not to work against its implementation, publicly or behind the scenes…
Members can express disagreement with Council’s decisions, but it is contrary to the ethical behaviour of Members to actively seek to undermine, challenge or work against Council’s decisions. That said, this rule is not intended to fetter a Member’s obligation to vote in what they determine is in the best interest of Council at the time of a vote, despite they or Council having taken a contrary position previously…
Rule 15 is oriented to the decisions of Council regardless of their origin. A decision on a notice of motion has the same status as a decision resulting from a staff report. That said, the Rule prevents actively undermining the decision after the fact.

Well, instead of respecting the rules or the ethical values behind them, Jeffrey basically sent a “Fuck you” message to the Code, as well as to the rest of council. She clearly believes any decision arrived at without the presence of the Queen of Entitlement is irrelevant. And by bringing it back to council, those extra expenses added to your tax bills will further make life here less affordable, and more expensive. Like I said previously: Council’s campaign promises about affordable housing were all bullshit. Council wants to make Collingwood a playground for millionaires and they’re happy to screw the working class, seniors, and low-income earners.

Affordability? Fuck that, say the council Saundersonites. Let them eat cake! Let’s hire another person, this time for $260,000 and benefits, office space, and equipment costs, although we already have a qualified arborist on staff, as CwoodToday noted (emphasis added)*:

Items added back in this round include hiring a full-time forestry co-ordinator, and adding a line item for $14,000 per year for five years for physician recruitment.
The forestry co-ordinator would be tasked with overseeing the town’s tree canopy and work on implementing more of the town’s urban forestry management plan. The request was expected to cost about $260,000 which would include the salary for the co-ordinator, as well as a vehicle purchase and costs for contracted services.

Why should Jeffrey care about the additional burden on local taxpayers and renters? She can just wave her hands and vote for her own pay raise to compensate for any excess costs… as she has done every budget for the past decade. And without effective local media to raise concerns, she will get away with it again.

Councillor Ring attempted to question the process, saying,

I think we just keep bringing things back until we finally get them passed. I don’t know what democracy we have around here sometimes…When I voted last time, it was not for pre-approval, it was to take it off the budget.

So did DM Fryer;

I’m sure it was a motion to remove it from the budget when I voted.

But the CAO apparently agreed with Jeffrey’s Fuck the Rest of You view, and slithered an excuse into the debate to add yet another well-paid staff member to the already bloated staff contingent:

…chief administrative officer Sonya Skinner clarified that they had instead voted against hiring for the position early, prior to the 2024 budget being ratified. She said the position is still included in the 2024 budget, to start in 2024.

Got that? Council votes against something when Jeffrey isn’t there and Jeffrey doesn’t like the decision, so she brings it back and with staff support, bends it to her will. How very Saundersonish of her. Anyone else think that’s not a very sleazy thing to do at all? Me, either.

Collingwood deserves better.


Me! Me! Me!NB. Recall in early 2022 when the former council got photographed holding signs indicating what they thought was the most important thing for them? Jeffrey’s sign had the word “ME” on it. That was a pretty good description of her focus these past three terms: me, me, ME! I wrote then, “From voting herself an unlimited expense account so she can galivant around the country at taxpayers’ expense, to voting for council raises and hikes to council expense accounts, Jeffrey’s ambition to grab the brass ring of entitlement has shown no limits.” That is still true. But you elected her, nonetheless.

NB: Recall Comigate: Councillors Jeffrey and Doherty were part of the Saunderson cabal that bullied former Councillor Tina Comi out of office. Comi’s seat was then filled by a lobbyist, personal friend, and donor to the campaigns to six of the eight remaining members, who also didn’t run for a seat at the table. Ethically, the seat should have gone to the person with the next highest number of votes who actually ran for office (Tim Fryer). But as always, ethics and democracy have never been important to the Saundersonites.

NB: Jeffrey and Doherty were two of the five Saundersonites who voted in Feb. 2018 to launch the Saudnerson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry that cost the town more than $10 million to pursue Saunderson’s personal vendetta. The vote was sneakily brought to the table without prior notice of motion, when three members of council were absent from the table and unable to join the discussion or vote. It was only approved by a razor-thin majority of five: Saunderson, Jeffrey, Doherty, Madigan, and Ecclestone. Back then, when the vote went the way she wanted it, Jeffrey had no concerns about everyone being present for a vote to be democratic. Ah, the stench of hypocrisy is thick with this one these days.

* Why didn’t the reporter ask Jeffrey how she could justify increasing the budget when it would only decrease affordability? Why didn’t the reporter ask why the town needs another arborist? Why didn’t the reporter ask why Jeffrey didn’t apply her “democracy” principle when voting for the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry when three other members were absent? Why didn’t the reporter ask…. anything? Local media: lowering our expectations of adequacy with every report.

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  1. Pingback: Our Arrogant Mayor is At It Again – Scripturient

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