Deputy mayor & interim CAO missing in action?

MissingThe headline in the Connection story reads, “Collingwood meets with provincial ministers about waterfront plan.” Well, that’s incorrect: it wasn’t “Collingwood” – it was Mayor Cooper and two staff members at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this month.

Notably absent from the reporting of these important meetings were the deputy mayor, Brian Saunderson; our interim CAO, John Brown; and senior administrative staff.

Why? Saunderson was at the AMO conference. Was he not invited? Or did he simply disdain to attend? I don’t know.

I doubt the interim CAO attended AMO. I suspect he was too busy hectoring Collus PowerStream staff from his corner office to attend anything as trivial as a major provincial municipal conference where ministers could be met, issues discussed and causes advocated. Not to mention the learning and networking opportunities. Permanent CAOs have attended in the past. Another reason we deserve a permanent CAO.

I don’t know why the other admin staff didn’t attend. I would have thought it beneficial for them to help present a united front on our waterfront plans, discussing funding and support opportunities and the impact on our local economy and budget implications.

The mayor had meetings with the Minister of Tourism, Eleanor McMahon, and the Minister of Economic Development and Growth, Brad Duguid. How important can they be to a town that survives on tourism and desperately needs to maintain and grow its economy? Right…

Hats off to the two staffers who did attend: they, at least, know what’s important for the community.

A second story in the Connection says the mayor also met with the Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, about Highway 26 upgrades while at AMO. No mention in the article that any other council members or senior staff were at that meeting either. They are conspicuous by their absence. But, then, why should The Block care about the main access to our town or its state of repair?

Last term, and also in previous terms, members of council were invited to attend similar meetings. After all, these meetings are important to our community’s present and future well-being. Perhaps the current and (some) former mayors recognized that others at the table also had the community’s best interests at heart, so we belonged in those meetings. That cannot be said of The Block, of course.

Now, I haven’t discussed this with the mayor, and I’m not privy to her thinking, but I’m sure you will, like I did, ponder the many reasons she might not want Saunderson with her. Sure, he’s the deputy mayor, but their relationship is barely cordial, and often confrontational. I imagine she might wonder about:

  • Disrespect for her and her office;
  • Personal agendas;
  • Toxic ideology;
  • Vendettas;
  • Argumentativeness;
  • Disinterest in the process.

Or perhaps it was not just Saunderson, but rather The Block she didn’t want present. After all, three other Block members were at the conference. Invite one and the others might want to come along, as sure as belches follow beer. In that case, she might have considered some of their collective attributes:

  • Toxic ideology;
  • Obsessive secrecy;
  • Lack of openness and transparency;
  • Ongoing war on seniors and low-income residents;
  • Sense of entitlement and greedy self-enrichment;
  • Obstinate unwillingness to learn, read or explore new or different ideas;
  • Slavish, lock-step, unquestioning following of their leader and the administration;
  • Ongoing war on local business and developers;
  • Policy of destroying and de-moralizing town institutions and staff;
  • Lack of respect for her and her office;
  • Petty vindictiveness;
  • Lack of ethics;
  • Breach of bylaws, Oath of Office and the Code of Conduct;
  • Sharing of confidential, personal information with outsiders;
  • Lack of vision and initiative;
  • Lack of interest in anything related to the greater good;
  • Self-aggrandizing personal agendas;
  • Lackadaisical approach to budgets and taxation;
  • Disinterest in anything that doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas.

Perhaps The Block was invited but because these weren’t their beloved, secretive, closed-door sessions where they can plot and hatch schemes in private, they weren’t interested.

It might be revealing to learn why they weren’t present – something the paper apparently never bothered to ask.

Collingwood deserves better.

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