Madigan to chair do-nothing committee


MadiganA story in last week’s Connection has the headline, “Madigan named chair of Collingwood development, operations committee.” Councillor Madigan has the dubious honour of chairing a standing committee that does nothing of value, has no decision-making authority and – like the rest of the standing committees – is redundant, ineffective and inefficient.

Which is an absolutely perfect fit for a loyal Block member. It makes them look busy without allowing them to meddle in anything important, and lets them boast about their engagement without actually doing anything or engaging anyone. The emperor’s new clothes at its finest.

Congratulations are in order. He gets to direct a committee whose sole task is to forward every issue, every report and every delegation to the full council where everything must be repeated and re-read to get anything done or a decision made. The eye-rolling and snickering are just staff’s way of saying how much they appreciate having to go over the same material twice for an audience in which few understand it no matter how many times you tell them.

And just look at the terrific media coverage standing committee meetings get… All right, that’s another joke. They get almost none because their main task is to procrastinate, defer and delay. Hardly makes for good copy, does it? Even the sycophantic local media strain yet fail to make it less snooze-worthy (the above-referenced article being a prime example).

The standing committee system has been broken ever since it was implemented. It adds a thick layer of red tape to everything. But since it is the brainchild of their beloved interim CAO, The Block treat it like a divine commandment handed down from above. They cannot even imagine the barest possibility of contemplating the notion of going against their interim CAO even when he leads them into the bureaucratic quagmire or into such bureaucratic dead ends as the standing committee system.

Just think of all the successes they’ve had under his guidance. Collus-PowerStream, IT, the water utility, the airport development, the hospital redevelopment, the utility boards, staff morale, the town’s reputation, the water pipeline… oh wait. Those are all failures. Abject, dismal, soul-crushing failures. But I’m sure The Block doesn’t see them the same way the rest of the community does. In their eyes, these are successes and damn those who say otherwise.

Besides, The Block can take comfort in having spent more than $750,000 of your tax dollars on lawyers and consultants to achieve those “successes” – a figure likely to double or even triple by the end of the term. And why should such expenses bother them? After all, it’s not their money and they were given a mandate to spend it anyway they saw fit, right? It’s not their worry that none of it was spent on or in the community, or on anything for the greater good.

To be fair, most of The Block haven’t the experience to appreciate the difference between an effective and ineffective system of governance. Or the wit to realize it even when they are in its midst. Some of them don’t even have the energy to stay alert and awake during their meetings, so you can’t expect them to be burning calories thinking, can you? Of course not.

So congratulations, Councillor Madigan. Your name will go down in history, writ large in the annals of pointless endeavour and ineffective governance. Years from now people will remember you and your committee for doing… nothing. Absolutely nothing more than wasting staff and the public’s time while bloviating to inflate your own self-importance.

And for that nothing I’m sure everyone will be eternally grateful, given the mess The Block makes of this town in its regular council meetings. We really can’t afford any more of your “successes” this term.

Collingwood deserves better.

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  1. I feel I must answer here some emails I received about this post, for the elucidation of all:

    1. I’m sure Brian has told him what to do and how to vote, so despite his inexperience, Madigan won’t make a complete mess of the procedure. Besides, how difficult can it be to recommend forwarding everything to council? It’s not like the committee makes any real decisions.
    2. No, it’s not an actual accomplishment to be appointed because there was no opponent to challenge: it’s a lateral arabesque, to paraphrase Lawrence Peters. But then what has this council achieved this term? For the positive, for the community, that is. Right: nothing. So being appointed to a do-nothing community is an accomplishment on the same level as the rest of their efforts: a self-serving deception. Yes, they have achieved a LOT of negative, destructive things that will hurt Collingwood for many years to come, but that’s not the issue here.
    3. Yes, it must be difficult to chair a meeting when you don’t read the agenda or any of the presentations. But why should this committee be more challenging for any of The Block than any of the other committees? They don’t read, they don’t heed any other voice than the interim CAO, whether it be this committee or the others. Some don’t even stay awake. Besides, it’s not meant to do anything, just to put more red tape into the process.
    4. Yes, they ALL bloviate. Madigan is not special in that regard. In fact, he bloviates very slightly less than several of his fellow Blockheads.
    5. Yes, I expect this committee will also discuss many items and issues behind closed doors when it feels like doing so, regardless of the topic. That’s the modus operandi of The Block: to connive and plot in secret so as to avoid any taint of openness. Why should this committee be any different? Yes, most of these issues SHOULD be discussed in public, but that’s not what they believe or how they act. It goes against their ingrained culture of secrecy to do so.
    6. No, the standing committee system will not be reinstated next term. Wiser, smarter people will see its flaws and restore the old, and more efficient and effective committee-of-the-whole system. I expect pretty much everything the interim CAO has implemented will be rolled back and the new council will apologize to the public, to our neighbours, to the province and to our hospital for what happened this term.
    7. No, none of The Block are likely to be re-elected. I’m sure that by now everyone knows the damage they have done to this town, its facilities, and institutions, and everyone is aware of the self-serving entitlements they have given themselves while raising your taxes. Who would re-elect them to continue their rampage?
  2. To be fair, The Block have had ONE major accomplishment this term. It is the pinnacle of their intellectual achievement: a bylaw to prohibit throwing birdseed on your deck. Honest; they really passed it.

    Yes, folks, that single bylaw is the sum total of their achievements since the election and the legacy of this group’s bumbling and stumbling governance. Well, of their positive achievements. They’ve got lots of negative “achievements” to their credit. In fact, everything else they have done this term has been destructive and toxic. So they have to hold this bylaw up for everyone to see in case people think that they haven’t done anything at all this term.

    And of course they passed it without any public input or consultation with our own humane society.

    Read about it here:

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