More Mayoral Bullying
At tonight’s meeting, Council officially received my March 30 resignation from 3 executive committees. I am no longer available to attend these committee meetings as a result of new obligations I have. These obligations arise from my unexpected elevation to the role of chair of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations on March 25.
For over 2 years, I have repeatedly urged Council to reconsider its committee schedule and structure in order to better accommodate the participation of working-age people in municipal meetings (both those on Council, and the general public).
As the only member of Council who is not retired, it has been an ongoing challenge to make time for committees, two weeks per month, that take place right in the middle of the business day. Most working people are simply unable to accommodate this, as has been repeatedly brought to Council's attention. This is, indeed, my worry in the upcoming municipal election: that, in a time of needed renewal, we will see another slate of candidates from the oldest 25% of the community, with no voice for young families and working people.
Tonight members of Council willingly volunteered to fill the new vacancies on the committees I have left. As the clerk pointed out, this was not required, as the Mayor is an “ex-officio” member on each of these bodies. She gains voting rights on committees during the absence of another member. This is clear in the procedural by-law.
But instead of graciously accepting these changes like everyone else, the Mayor once again used her position as chair of the meeting as a bully pulpit, launching a misguided and fact-averse attack into my reasons for leaving the committees. It is apparent, once again, that the Mayor thinks that councillors work for her – going as far as to suggest that my oath of office was a commitment made to her. As I reminded the Mayor during the meeting, our oaths were sworn to Her Majesty the Queen, whose name is not June Caul. My schedule and ability to attend meetings that conflict with my day job is up to me – not her or Council.
The Mayor also suggested tonight that I was no longer worthy of my councillor salary and that the members of Council who have taken on new responsibilities ought to receive additional remuneration for their time. Yet herself and 3 other members of Council already receive additional remuneration from the committees that the Mayor selected them for. Whether I am on committees or not, my time commitment to Council continues to be immense, and I am one of the only members of Council who has actually placed items on the municipal agenda other than their own expense claims. So, the Mayor’s insinuations tonight were both dishonest and insulting.
In my experience, serving on an executive committee is not a significant additional time commitment on its own. The meetings are often less than 40 minutes long. The materials need to be reviewed by all members before Council meetings anyway. The issue is that the meetings are scheduled during the middle of the workday and conflict with other important professional obligations.
The Mayor also suggested that it was improper of me to share my resignation with the community. My committee resignation is a matter of public record, as evidenced by the fact that it was published on the Council agenda today by the clerk. It was also important that I publish my resignation, because the last time I resigned from a committee, the Mayor and former clerk concealed it – likely because it stated, “I no longer have confidence in the mayor’s leadership of this Committee.” (You can read that letter here. It should have appeared on the July 12 Council agenda.)
So, busy dayplanners aside, why participate in an executive committee when you don’t have confidence in the “chief executive”? I am not about to be lectured about oaths and ethics by a Mayor who:
Leaked a confidential legal opinion to her “friend”, who has since used it to repeatedly smear members of Council and municipal staff in the newspaper;
Spent half of 2021 deluding herself into thinking she was the CAO of the municipality;
Unilaterally instructed the Town’s lawyers to take significant steps in litigation without authorization from Council;
Sent a letter, threatening to cancel a municipal contract, without any authority to do so;
Illegally ordered staff not to respond to questions from me; and
Was found by the Integrity Commissioner, in December, to have breached over a dozen sections of various municipal by-laws and policies.
2022 is a municipal election year, but it won’t be one where my integrity is on trial.