Some Questions To Ask
News stories about Jane Boyd and City Hall intrigue me. They have interesting aspects to them that are not directly related to her.
As an example, on July 14, 2004, we learned that Norma Coleman, wife of the Windsor Star's Editorial Page Editor, John Coleman, took a position similar to that of Jane in the office of Mayor Eddie Francis. Jane was described as the "right-hand woman" to two mayors so Norma's job must be quite important too. Her title is Chief of Staff.
Norma had been appointed in May and that appointment had never been reported by the Star until several months later. What was odd to me was that the appointment was set out in the last paragraph of a story in which it was disclosed that Jane was suing the City for wrongful termination.
I would have thought something as important as the appointment of a new Chief of Staff would have been set out in a separate story or, if it was not important, would not have been reported at all.
I could never figure out why her appointment was reported months after it happened and in such a manner.
To deal with the most recent story, Jane sued the City for $23,750. (The last story said the amount was $40,000) It appears that the matter has been settled, but taxpayers only found out in August that the deal was done in April. In December I had asked
- "Did Council offer Jane Boyd a settlement? Where is that matter now and if in litigation still, how much has it cost us so far?"
I wish we could find out the results but "The settlement won't be disclosed because both sides are bound by a confidentiality agreement." At the least the City should tell us what its legal costs were or do I have to file another MFOIA application?
Now Jane worked in Eddie's Office for a month or so after he was elected. The news stories were not clear who made the decision to terminate her services although the Star Editorial on the subject said "Mayor Eddie Francis decided to let her go."
I raise this because the settlement occurred because "The vote to settle was a tie broken by Mayor Eddie Francis" and we were told that Francis' "office oversaw the file." If the Mayor had NOT voted, a tie vote would have meant the Motion was defeated. In other words, if the Motion was to settle the case, a tied vote would have meant no settlement and the case would have gone on.
Who knows, if it had proceeded further, Eddie might have been forced to testify publicly at trial. Now that would have filled the Courtroom. By Eddie voting to break the tie, we now have a settlement and have been deprived of that.
In a case such as this where the Mayor may have taken the action that caused the City to be sued, is it the protocol that his office is allowed to run the lawsuit and that he can vote on settling it?
Oh well, it appears that all of the facts will never be known.
What a surprise. Another public project not meeting schedule and potentially going over-budget.
Huron Lodge was to be completed last November apparently but now, after a 9-month delay in completion, it is still not done. It was supposed to have been finished around this time. Accordingly, the city hired a lawyer from Toronto to "move (the project) along" whatever that means.
Here's what's interesting. More inaction by the City and failure to act promptly.
Back in June when the City negotiated the Cleary deal with St. Clair college, part of the deal included Huron Lodge:
- "the city can remain rent-free in the Huron Lodge nursing home -- which will be owned by the college as of July 1 -- while construction of the new nursing home is delayed for six months. Strasser said the rent would have cost the city about $1 million."
If the City knew there were problems in June, why did it wait until almost the end of August to hire a lawyer. If it did not know, then why not? According to Councillor Gignac "There's substantial work" to be done."
Presumably, if the new Huron Lodge is not completed during this 6 month "delay" period, the City may have to pay the College rent. I know what Councillor Zuk said "She said St. Clair College is "completely fine" with having its plans to take over the property pushed back." Does that mean no rent will be charged or, based on Pres. Strasser's numbers, the City would owe St. Clair about $170,000 a month?
It could be a nice way for the College to make a few extra dollars to help them in their move isn't it?