As I predicted in my previous post, “To revoke LAS, or not to revoke LAS, that is the question?“, the motion to revoke LAS was deferred. This prompted Mr. Joe Burrell to inform Brighton Council that a petition had been started by concerned Brighton taxpayers. Click here to listen to the responses from Deputy Mayor Vandertoorn, Councillor Rittwage and Councillor Kerr.
Councillor John Martinello sent me the following comments regarding the petition and the motion to revoke LAS.
During question period at the Apr 22 council mtg, Brighton taxpayer Mr. Joe Burrell presented the following petition to council.
“PETITION TO BRIGHTON MUNICIPAL COUNCIL TO REVOKE LOCAL AUTHORITY SERVICES (LAS) AS THE DESIGNATED CLOSED MEETING INVESTIGATOR
Whereas the corporation LAS has been contracted by the Municipality of Brighton to perform closed meeting investigation services at a cost of $225/hr;
Whereas the Ontario Ombudsman can provide professional and independent closed meeting investigation services at NO COST to the Municipality;
Whereas at least four members of Council are required to support revocation of LAS and currently only there members of Council have indicated their support for revocation of LAS; and
Whereas currently Deputy Mayor Mike Vandertoorn, Councillors Craig Kerr, Thomas Rittwage and Emily Rowley have not yet indicated their support for the revocation of LAS.
In the interests of transparency and fiscal responsibility, We the undersigned hereby petition members of Brighton Municipal Council to revoke LAS as the designated closed meeting investigator for Brighton.
Furthermore, let it be known that, We the undersigned will not be casting a vote for any municipal candidate in the October 27, 2014 municipal election that does not support the revocation of LAS.”
In direct response to Mr Burrell, Councillor Kerr made the following statement.
“What the person is really saying is forget your obligation to the municipality and act in your own self-interest. Do what is gonna benefit you as a councillor to get re-elected & not what is in the best interests of the municipality. And that frankly, I find immoral.” – Councillor Kerr
My jaw dropped when I heard Kerr describe a petition as “immoral.” Subsequent to the meeting, a number of Brighton taxpayers also expressed disbelief that Kerr would describe a petition as “immoral.” So I consulted the Oxford Canadian Dictionary to determine the meaning of immoral. Following is the definition of immoral.
“not conforming to accepted standards of morality … morally wrong, esp in sexual matters … depraved, dissolute.”
I fully accept & agree with the facts presented in the petition. Also, I believe that:
(a) in a democracy, any person or group of persons has a right to circulate a petition;
(b) people who circulate a petition should not be degraded & demeaned by use of terms such as “immoral“;
(c) there can be no good reason for Brighton taxpayers to pay for services that can be acquired at no cost. Especially when the no-cost services have the good reputation that the Ontario Ombudsman has;
(d) paying for services that can be acquired at no cost is, at best, inconsistent with section 224(e) of the Ontario Municipal Act which states, “It is the role of council to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality“;
(e) I am an employee of the taxpayers of Brighton &, as an employee, it is my job to represent the interests of Brighton taxpayers; and
(f) it is WRONG to describe a petition, & the persons associated with that petition, as “immoral”.
At the April 22 council meeting, council considered the following motion that was moved by myself & seconded by Mayor Walas.
“Whereas, the Ombudsman of Ontario provides independent & impartial closed meeting investigation services; and
Whereas, the Ombudsman of Ontario can provide these closed meeting investigation services at no billable cost to Brighton taxpayers,
That Council immediately serve notice to LAS that the contract for closed meeting investigation services will be terminated.”
Councillors Rittwage & Kerr put forward a motion to defer the preceding motion. Because the majority supported (in a vote recorded as follows) this motion of deferral, there was no debate or vote on the motion to terminate the LAS contract.
AGAINST DEFERRAL: Councillors Martinello & Tadman; Mayor Walas
FOR DEFERRAL: Councillors Rowley, Vandertoorn, Rittwage & Kerr
If you would like to sign the petition and collect other signatures, please click here to download a copy of the petition. Please send an email to arrange for the signature form collection.